Don’t let your electricity bill spring a surprise on you

October usually sees the temperatures climbing after a long and somewhat harsh winter for much of South Africa this year. With the start of a new season comes a difference in the way we use electricity at home – from high use of heaters and tumble-dryers in winter, to air-conditioners and fans in spring and summer.

How to re-think your energy habits? It’s about looking where you can reduce the amount of electricity you’re using when cooking, washing, entertaining, and when using equipment. Spring usually means warmer weather, making it easier to dry your washing on the line outside, rather than using the tumble dryer, for instance. It may be a good idea to have a sit down with your family to talk about how, when using electricity, to use only what you need and to always be aware of where you can save electricity. You could even offer an incentive to the family member who is willing to take on the responsibility of actively looking at ways to save energy like switching off lights in rooms that aren’t occupied.
If you’re asking yourself, “where do I start?” Here are some valuable tips to help change the way you think about electricity, change your habits and help you save money:
• Your geyser is like a big kettle, with an element inside that heats up the water to a set temperature. When you turn on a hot tap, hot water is released from the geyser and cold water rushes in to replace it. As the water temperature in the geyser has now decreased, the element kicks in to heat the water back up to the set temperature. So rather use the cold water tap for tasks not requiring hot water, than drawing water from the geyser every time you open a tap.
• If you get used to it and turn off the lights every time you leave a room, the result will be remarkable. It seems obvious and so simple, but you’ll be surprised to learn that leaving things switched on is one of the most frequent things we do throughout a day. So, remember to switch off the lights when you leave a room.
• When setting your pool pump, you want to ensure its running optimally and keeping your pool a sparkling blue, ready for summer. So set your swimming pool pump cycle to run twice a day for optimal energy use. And try avoid running a cycle between 17:00 and 21:00 to reduce the demand on the power system.
• To save energy and stay comfortable this summer, set your air-conditioners’ average temperature to around 23ºC. Setting your air conditioner to this level will allow you to stay cool and avoid an unusually high electricity bill.
• The use of energy efficient lighting is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reduce your energy consumption. So, be energy efficient and change your light bulbs to energy efficient lights/LEDs.
By practicing these easy tips, you will change the way you think about electricity, and by applying these actions frequently your habits will change. Your new habits will not only save electricity but in the long run also save you money.
 Remember to keep an eye out and respond to the real-time Power Alert messages on SABC, eTV and DStv to help manage the strain on the electricity system. Together we can make a difference and keep the lights on.
 (Source: Eskom Media Desk)

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