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A friend of mine had an increase on her electricity bill from R600 to R1 000 in this last month.
She lives in a complex so this reading is taken every month and is therefore “accurate”. A R400 increase in electricity usage is a fair bit, so in this article we will look at different ways of saving electricity.
This can be achieved on daily living and utilities usage. We often overlook expenses such as these as sources for saving, but cutting back on these sort of expenses can help with long-term savings.
Any unexpected increase in an electricity bill, whether R100 or R400, does affect our overall budget.
Unexpected expenses invariably influence our savings provisions. We will probably purchase more necessary items, such as food, with our credit cards when the cash available to us is reduced.
It is often the “not-thinking behaviour” that causes our losses and prevents us from making investment savings.
Eskom has a large campaign bombarding us with ways to save electricity; on billboards, in magazines and on television.
But in this era of information overload, the message is often lost on us. We forget that the cost of electrical supply has more than doubled over the last few years and is likely to double again in the next three to five years.
The impact of the first line will change significantly if I write that “a friend of mine had an increase from R1 200 to R2 000” due to the possible doubling over the next five years.
If we stay on this “unthinking pathway” we are reducing possible savings by R200 a month for every year. We should pay attention and heed the issues continuously raised by Eskom. Apply just one change suggested by Eskom each time you see an advertisement.
Unfortunately, most of these actions are reactive and will not get you ahead. To be proactive we must look at alternatives that will give us long-term solutions.
For a while now, I have been looking at alternative power solutions. I look at the investment required and offset that against the long-term savings and how long it will take to recover the outlay.
I spoke to Roger from Heatpump SA, who confirmed that the cost of a heat pump with geyser, about R18 000, saves you up to 70 percent on your water heating bill. Another advert teaches us that 60 percent of your electricity usage is spent in the bathroom. This can relate to a total saving of more than 30 percent.
I have chosen not to apply heat pump technology, rather using a combination of solar energy and gas. This reduced my electricity bill to a bit over R300 a month on prepaid electricity, with gas at less than R200, for a three-bedroom house running three computers each day.
It is also convenient and less disruptive on life. The threatened load-shedding will leave me, through solar energy, with enough power to run lights and watch my favourite programmes on TV. Perhaps I am not saving as I must but at least I am not wasting either.
As much as it becomes a new habit to turn lights off when you leave a room, it will require lifestyle changes to adapt to the new technologies. The downside in winter is that my cold home becomes colder because I cannot use electrical heaters and fear gas heaters.
I tell visitors jokingly to dress warmly when coming to visit me. Roger shivered so much in the shirt he was wearing that we completed our interview in the sun outside.
Saving energy will not only benefit the environment but it will also help you get ahead in your budget, which will soon have you on your way to financial freedom.
Follow me on Twitter (@Deon_Financial) or like my Facebook page and let me know how you plan to save energy.