The biggest drain on your electricity bill

 ·2 Mar 2015
Eskom power money

With double digit electricity price hikes on the way, Eskom has identified those household items which cause the biggest headache when it comes to our monthly bill.

The power utility is expected to raise tariffs in excess of 12% in July, while Johannesburg’s City Power is set to charge household more for electricity during peak periods in a bid to lessen the need for load shedding.

The “time-of-use” pricing is also expected from July, and will charge consumers more for electricity usage between the hours of 07h00-10h00 and 18h00-21h00 on weekdays.

To incentive a shift in use from the “peak times”, lower than normal pricing will be charged during off-peak times.

Eskom noted that geysers eat into as much as 39% of SA consumers monthly energy usage.

The state owned company provided the following list of items and how they contribute to your electricity bill:

  • Geyser 39%
  • Space Heating 16%
  • Other 12%
  • Stove & Oven 7%
  • Lights 6%
  • Cold Storage 5%
  • Laundry 3%
  • Pool Pump 11%
  • Other Cooking 1%

Eskom stressed that even in standby mode, TVs, DVD players and set top boxes still use up to 50% off their operating power, while mobile phone charges also continue to draw electricity unless turned off at the plug.

How to save on your energy bill

According to Faith Mkhacwa, NCPC-SA project manager, as much as 20% of the energy we currently consume can be saved through easy, inexpensive behaviour changes.

Mkhacwa, was speaking recently at an energy efficiency workshop hosted by the South African Industrial Energy Efficiency Project.

“Behaviour change has the power to turn the newest energy technology into wasted money, and it can turn the oldest, most outdated technology into something that is energy efficient,” said Mkhacwa.

Mkhacwa said that benefits of behaviour change can be immediate, with no infrastructure changes, little to no cost to company, and can offer sustainable savings.

Here are some tips to make your business more energy efficient:

Lighten up: Lighting expenses can account for as much as 50% of the energy bill of a business, so turn off any lights not in use and switch to lower-wattage bulbs.

Change your bulbs: Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps, which last 10 times longer and cost less to operate.

Power down: Ask employees to switch off nonessential equipment overnight, including
computers, copiers, and printers, which continue to draw electricity even when in standby mode.

Give your office a holiday: If your business closes down for extended periods during the year, such as over Christmas, ensure your geyser and other nonessential appliances and equipment are turned off.

Climate control: Over-heating or cooling your office can increase your energy bill by 7% for every degree. Ideal temperatures range between 18° and 21° in winter and 24° in summer.

Hot water: Reducing the set temperature on your geyser by 10° will save you over 5% of its energy usage cost. Increase this even more by insulating your hot water pipes and ensuring that your geyser is regularly serviced.

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