WITH load shedding and higher energy prices having an impact on many households, South Africans need to do everything they can to reduce pressure on both the grid and their pockets.
“Price hikes and load shedding have had a significant impact on all of us. Through a few relatively simple and practical changes to the way they use electricity, consumers can help to keep the lights on and save a substantial amount of money in the process,” says Susan Steward, from Budget Insurance.
Steward offers the following tips to take pressure off the grid and save money:
1. Bright idea: Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. They may be more expensive, but energy efficient light bulbs last longer and use substantially less electricity.
2. Out with the old: Letting go of large appliances such as a fridge can seem counter-productive if you are trying to save money. However, newer fridges are more energy efficient and could save you more in the long run. Appliances are graded from A to G on their efficiency, with A being the most efficient and G being the least.
3. Low consumption alternatives: Taking a shower instead of a bath or using the microwave instead of the stove or oven to cook and warm food are simple ways of saving energy and money. People can also open windows instead of using the air conditioner or close them to retain heat instead of using heaters
4. The habit of saving: Get all the members of your household to turn off any lights and appliances that are not in use.
5. Smart plugs: Smart plugs can be set to switch off your appliances. Smart plugs typically have a companion app, allowing you to set preferences and time schedules. These plugs can be switched off manually when not in use.
6. Time for timers: Timers or smart switches for things like geysers or security lights will help you only consume electricity at specific times.
7. Long-term planning: Some of the bigger ways to reduce electricity consumption 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 fireplaces. A pre-paid electricity meter will also allow people to monitor power consumption.