Karen Sandison African News Agency (ANA)

Consumers will be feeling the pinch after the National Energy Regulator of South Africa approved electricity increases of up to 50% over the next three years.

“Many South Africans are left scratching their heads as they try to think of ways to make their household budgets stretch even further. Just this year alone we will see around a 10% increase to our electricity bills,” says Susan Steward from Budget Insurance. “With these, and other living expense increases on the cards, consider doing a power audit of your home to see how and where you can save electricity.”

  • Bright idea: switch to energy efficient light bulbs if you have not yet done so already. While they are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, over the longer-term, you will see a difference in savings as the bulbs last longer.
  • Smart plugs for smart people: smart plugs are an effective way to help you maintain your power consumption and keep your home energy efficient with little input. 
  • Smart plugs can be set to switch off your appliances such as TVs and sound systems entirely as opposed to putting them onto stand-by mode which guzzles power. Smart plugs typically have a companion app allowing you to set preferences, schedules and names for the devices.
  • Time for timers: timers, or smart switches, whether for geysers, pool pumps or security lights will help you only consume electricity when these items need to be used. The geyser is one of the most energy consuming items in the household and a smart switch allows this to be turned on or off when necessary.
  • Out with the old: letting go of large appliances such as a fridge can seem counter-productive when trying to save money but newer fridges are far more energy efficient than the one which has likely been part of the family for a number of years. Appliances are graded from A to G on their efficiency, with A being the most efficient and G being the least.
  • Long-term planning: there are some bigger ways to reduce a home’s electricity consumption and should be considered as part of a longer term investment and cost saving exercise. This includes putting in solar panels, switching out electricity-run stoves and ovens for gas and replacing air conditioning with ceiling fans and fire places. A pre-paid electricity meter would also be an effective to monitor your home’s power consumption and assist with budgeting for power on a monthly basis.

“The best way to save and conserve power is by ensuring everyone is on the same page about what to do. Do your children, partners and housemates know how much is being spent on electricity every month? Through a group effort and by making a conscious choice to save electricity, the best results can be achieved,” says Steward.

PERSONAL FINANCE