Let’s work together to save energy

By Calvin Augustine 

Energy is one of the most precious commodities we possess and therefore it is the duty of all citizens to conserve this resource, especially for those darker days when it is needed the most.
If everyone plays their part by observing energy saving initiatives we can navigate through the cold winter days to come. Ultimately, we want everyone to adopt an energy saving lifestyle. 

It encourages South Africans to adopt an energy saving lifestyle and draws all citizens together as part of a common to keep the lights on. 

Government is supporting the country’s energy saving initiatives through a Demand Side Management programme that seeks to reduce energy consumption during peak periods, typically between 5pm-9pm.  

The programme has the potential to save 1 500MW, which is equivalent to one stage of load shedding. This will help relieve pressure on the national grid and lessen the chances of higher stages of load shedding.  

We can practice energy saving during high demand periods by switching off all non-essential lighting and non-essential appliances. These include your geyser, air conditions, space heaters and pool pumps which place a high energy demand on the grid.

One of the biggest energy users in our homes is the heating of water. In an average home the heating of water consumes the highest amount of electricity. One of the most effective measures to lower water heating is to reduce your geyser temperature to 60°C. By doing this, you can save between 3 to 5 per cent in heating costs for every 10-degree reduction.   

You can also save water and electricity by taking a shower instead of a bath.  Replacing older showerheads with modern energy efficient showerheads, which use half as much water, will enable saving on water heating. Heat pumps are also more energy-efficient than conventional electric element geysers.

Households, which can afford to cook using gas and switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) use one-fifth to one-third of the electricity and last eight times longer. Businesses and commercial operations can also switch to energy efficient lighting as lighting accounts for 18 percent of the electricity consumption in the commercial sector and 26 percent in the industrial sector.

Further energy saving initiatives are reducing the usage of air conditioners and heaters.  Often times, energy usage is closely linked to prevailing weather conditions, for instance on hotter days there may be higher usage of air conditioners whereas on colder days there may be increased use of heaters and electric blankets. 

We encourage individuals to make use of natural alternatives such as sunlight.  

The simple act of opening windows and curtains or blinds will allow the natural sunlight to warm homes during winter, or can alternatively provide a cool breeze during those hot summer days. 

Government calls on all South Africans to join in our national effort to save energy. Your actions will go a long way to assist the country in overcoming our energy challenges. 

While we all play our part in saving energy, government is actively working to reduce the severity of load shedding in the short term and achieve energy security in the long term through the implementation of the Energy Action Plan.

As part of the plan, government is also implementing wide-ranging reforms to enable private investment in electricity generation and accelerate the procurement of new generation capacity from solar, wind, gas and battery storage.
Beyond this immediate crisis, there are signs of progress with additional generation capacity through the Independent Power Producers and embedded generation expected to exceed 9 000MW when it comes online over the next few years.

Our real power lies within every South African taking the necessary action today to save energy. Through a simple flip of a switch we can ensure more people have access to this precious commodity during the winter period.