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Be penny wise – buy less and save more
Thursday, 02 July 2020: The current lockdown is taking its toll on so many households, with numerous struggling to make ends meet as economic activities have severely been impacted. When looking at the total consumption expenditure of South African households, a staggering 32.55% of money is spent on housing, electricity and water – the biggest expenditure category as per the data from the Statistics South Africa’s Living Conditions Survey. Therefore this is the time for you as a homeowner to take steps to reduce your electricity usage.
Even if you are fortunate enough to have a decent income during this tough economic period, the winter electricity bills can make a serious dent on your finances. But the good news is that there are ways to take the sting out of your electricity bills by being electricity smart, by buying and using only what you need. See what can be done to save more money on your electricity bill this winter:
  • Lights – The first and easiest way to reduce your usage is to switch off unnecessary lights. When you need to replace a light bulb choose wisely.  Consider the replacement costs, electricity usage and the hassle of changing bulbs, which makes compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) good options.  These lamps use approximately 80% less energy and last eight to fifteen times longer than the incandescent bulbs.
  • Hot Water – Boil enough water only for the number of cups of tea you are making. Use a hot water bottle rather than an electric blanket.
  • Natural Heat Take advantage of sunlight to warm rooms during the day, but then close the curtains to reduce heat loss during the evenings. Double curtains create a tighter air space, improving room comfort levels. If possible, let them hang long enough to reach the windowsill or floor.
  • Staying Warm – Think before switching on the heater, rather dress warmly; use a blanket and a hot water bottle to keep cosy.  Electric space heaters can account for up to 17% of your evening peak power consumption. When using heaters, only heat the rooms that you’re spending time in.
  • Laundry – Do not wash your clothes at a high temperature unless you have a specific reason for doing so. Most laundry detergents are designed to work effectively at 30ºC or lower. Make sure your washing machine is fully loaded each time you use it. You can also apply the same to your tumble dryer to help save both electricity and water.
Remember to keep an eye out and respond to the real-time Power Alert messages on SABC, and DStv to help manage the strain of the electricity system.  Together we can make a difference and keep the lights on.