How to save on your Eskom electricity bill

Eskom’s acting CEO Brian Molefe has given South Africans two options: pay more for electricity or face more load shedding – which will damage the economy.

On 8 May, Eskom made an urgent application to Nersa to increase the electricity tariff by 25.3% for the 2015/2016 financial year. This included the 12.69% price increase Nersa had already approved.

Local municipalities have also requested price increases, with Mookgophong municipality in Limpopo applying for a 35% tariff hike.

With electricity prices set to rise, and Eskom continually asking South Africans to save power and take pressure off the grid, saving a few kilowatts does have its benefits.

Here are a few ways you can save power, according to Eskom.

How to save 10%

  • Turn down the thermostat on your electrical element geyser to 60°C.
  • Don’t use hot water for tasks you can accomplish with cold water – such as rinsing dishes and vegetables.
  • Set your fridge to 3°C.
  • Make sure the seals of your fridge and freezer doors are intact.
  • Place your fridge somewhere cool – away from sun-facing walls and windows, and as far as possible from the stove.
  • Defrost your chest freezer twice a year, upright freezers should be defrosted three times a year.
  • Don’t overfill your fridge or freezer, only use 90% of its capacity.
  • Always switch off lights in unoccupied rooms.
  • Unplug all appliances you are not using.
  • Don’t leave computers, TVs, and DVD players on standby.
  • Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to optimise natural light and postpone switching on artificial lighting until it gets dark.

How to save 30 – 50%

  • Install a geyser blanket and pipe insulation on the first 1.5 metres of pipes.
  • Fit your geyser as close as possible to the points where you use hot water.
  • Install shade awnings on the outside of windows facing the sun – it reduces radiant heat from entering your home.
  • Install window blinds or hang curtains – it improves thermal insulation by preventing heat from escaping your home.
  • Installing ceiling insulation is the most important step for improving the energy efficiency of your home – it reduces heat penetration in summer and stops heat losses in winter.
  • If your fridge, washing machine, or dishwasher is more than 10 years old, replace it with a new one. Appliances become energy intensive over time, and newer models are designed to be energy efficient.
  • Replace your conventional oven with an energy-efficient convection oven.

Other tips

  • Switch off your geyser between 17:00 and 21:00.
  • In winter, reduce the number of hours your pool pump runs to one 4-to-6-hour filtering cycle every 24 hours.
  • In summer, reduce the number of hours your pool pump runs from 10 to 6 hours per day.
  • Avoid using electricity heavy ‘bar’ heaters – instead, use energy-efficient space heaters.
  • Keep your under-floor heating switched off – hot air rises and heat dissipates quickly if a door or window is open. If you do switch it on, make sure it is switched off when you are asleep in bed.
  • Drink hot drinks and dress for the weather – “an extra layer of clothing and a cosy blanket over your knees will help stay warm and postpone switching on a space heater”.

Jo-Ann Strauss shows you how to turn your geyser off, in the video below.

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How to save on your Eskom electricity bill