South Africans are encouraged to save energy this Winter Picture: FABRIZIO BENSCH/Reuters
South Africans are encouraged to save energy this Winter Picture: FABRIZIO BENSCH/Reuters

Joint effort needed to minimise energy waste

By Murphy Nganga Time of article published May 6, 2021

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Cape Town – As May marks Energy Month, a joint effort by families, businesses and the government is required to minimise the waste of reusable energy in South Africa.

General Manager of the energy efficiency at the South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI), Barry Bredenkamp, said that the major barrier to the large-scale uptake of energy conservation in South Africa remains a lack of awareness on the importance of being more efficient in the way we consume scarce and finite resources.

“Energy conservation begins with understanding the impact that fossil fuel powered energy has on our environment and natural resources. Citizens need to also work with the government to reach some of the ambitious goals and commitments around climate change response, through the reduction of emissions, and this begins by changing the way we consume energy, reducing how much we consume and using alternative clean energy resources where possible,” said Bredenkamp.

He emphasised the importance of conserving energy and how it is financially beneficial for the user.

“At household level, conserving energy means that there is less money spent towards heating, lighting and cooling. Low-income households spend more than 10% of their income on energy (purchasing electricity units, gas or paraffin). In simple terms, this means that knowing how much energy your household uses and what it is being used for, enables one to prioritise which areas of energy use can be improved. For example, one might want to use gas for heating and cooking instead of electricity.”

“In South Africa, we have the added ‘incentive’ to save energy, given the fact that our national electricity utility, Eskom, regularly find themselves in a position where they cannot generate the required energy to meet the demand of the country and by saving or reducing our demand for energy, will assist in providing the country with a sustained supply of energy throughout the year,” said Bredenkamp.

As winter slowly creeps in, geysers and heaters usage will increase among household residents, resulting in more electricity usage during this period.

Eskom said that efficient use of electricity across South Africa can assist in reducing the need for load shedding or limit the duration of load shedding if Eskom has units at power stations on unplanned outages and needs to reduce the demand to balance supply by the power stations. It cannot, however, prevent load shedding completely, in certain scenarios.

“In South Africa, peak demand periods occur in the mornings from 6am to 9am and in the early evenings from 5pm to 9pm. The evening peak is generally as a result of the impact of residential consumers,” said Eskom.

In an effort to minimise energy use, Eskom encourages the nation to pay attention to the televised Power Alert, which tells the public about the real-time state of the country's electricity network.

“The Power Alert system provides a real-time link into the four television broadcasters – SABC, eTV, DSTV – as well as Open View. The colour-coded alerts inform residential electricity users if the system is either stable or under severe pressure. If under severe pressure, the public is requested to turn off ‘all unnecessary’ electrical appliances such as lights, geysers, pool pumps and non-essential appliances. This initiative empowers consumers across the nation to assist in balancing the supply and demand of electricity” said Eskom

To celebrate this month, below are some tips given by Sustainable Energy Africa to conserve energy:

– Switching off lights when not in the room,

– Turning your geysers down to 60 degrees celsius or below,

– Taking short showers not only conserves water use but also ensures that the geyser uses less energy to warm up,

– Switch off geyser during peak hours,

– Opt for cooking with gas stoves,

– Install led lamps

Weekend Argus

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