THE National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) has given Eskom greater leeway to run its open cycle gas turbines (OCGT) for longer periods, which will help ease the utility’s dire financial position but will lead to higher prices for consumers next year.
Last year, Nersa approved the clawback of R7.8bn for the 2013-14 year, which resulted in 5% being added to the 8% tariff for this year. It is uncertain what the tariff will be in 2016-17.
So , in April of 2015, your price of electricity will rise by 13% – expectations are that the tariffs may rise as much as 20% in 2016 ..
Have a look at the price table and see what these tariff rate increases REALLY mean for us.
With the likely outcome of 12,69% per year forecast as a more realistic picture of the increases to come , you can see that the cost of our electricity is going up and up and up…as are the bonuses paid to ESKOM executives!
While we can’t simply NOT use electricity , or boycott buying E Tags and not paying our E Toll bills- there are steps we can take as business owners and home owners that can reduce our consumption and decrease our dependency on the ESKOM Grid.
Assess your usage and appliances.
Start by KNOWING what your biggest users of power in your home are. The easiest way to check this is to simply look on the back of the appliance or in the manual for the power rating – this is given in WATTS (W).
So , if an appliance is rated at 1000W , if you run that appliance for an hour , you will use one unit of electricity or 1kWh , for two hours – 2kWH and that is what your are billed for – your kWh usage per month.
If your appliance is rated 500W , then for every two hours it is running, it will use 1kWh.
This is why one of the biggest culprits of power usage in the home and business are 50W Halogen downlighters.
Now, these are very pretty and give off great light, but do the maths here. If you have 20 of them (20X 50W=1000W) running at night , you are using 1 kWh for EVERY HOUR THEY ARE ON!
Running for 8 hours = 8kWh ; 30 days a month = 240 kWh = approx R250-00 per month = R 3000 per year.
So, one of the steps you can take is to change these for LED or CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) which use MUCH LESS – between 5W and 8W per lamp rather than 50W per lamp.
Compare : 6W x20 = 120W ; running for 8 hours = 960W ; running for an hour = 0,96kWh – not even 1 unit , thats a saving of 87%!
The more obvious consumers are your geyser, pool pump , tumble dryer and electric heaters (in winter) along with underfloor heating.
For geysers get a timer and a blanket- these two alone can cut your geyser consumption significantly and reduce your monthly electricity costs by between 20% and 30%.
Run your pool pump at night and two hours less. Most pumps are rated around 500W , so two hours less will save you 2kWH per day or 60kWh per month.
Make sure your appliances are energy efficient and check the rating on each one when you buy them. Ask the salesperson about the energy efficiency ratings of the appliance you are looking at.
Another great idea are energy /water saving showerheads. These simply designed yet very effective products use air to make the shower droplets bigger, but use about HALF the water to do so! If you are using HALF the hot water in your shower you are saving half that energy as well as half the water.
The Solar Energy option is one that makes sense too, but there is a sizeable investment required for this and the steps I am talking about above cost very little to implement.
While ESKOM may be putting the prices up and we can’t avoid it, we certainly can take steps to save electricity wherever we can.