In the first quarter of the year, Eskom and the government committed to developing a workable strategy to stabilise the national grid as capacity is ramped up and maintenance is scheduled.
Following a briefing by deputy president David Mabuza on events at the national utility and electricity constraints, a Technical Review Panel appointed by the Eskom board and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan promised a plan by April.
However, with the national elections and subsequent inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa taking centre stage, the strategy was postponed.
Managing power consumption
While Eskom resumes the process, South Africans can take matters into their hands by managing their consumption, to prevent further load shedding during the rest of winter.
Apart from self-generation systems which are often reactive and expensive solutions, you can save on energy at home and contribute to national grid stability.
Schedule an energy audit
An energy audit will help you find smart ways to reduce your home and business energy bills and, in the process, lower your carbon footprint.
Most power companies offer energy audits which give detailed analysis of your existing installations including information on where the most energy is being used and prescribe specific methods or appliances for improved power efficiency.
Energy efficient lighting systems
Efficient lighting can reduce energy consumption by up to 80%, as regular light bulbs create a lot of heat and use up more energy.
Light emitting diode bulbs (LED’s) for instance have been identified as a higher efficacy light source, using about 75% less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs. They last longer, reduce overall lighting power consumption, and offer comparable or better light quality than other types of lighting.
Installing lighting control devices like dimmers, timers and sensors can also reduce energy efficiency, and we have a good range of wiring solutions in this regard.
Power off and unplug equipment not in use
This should be one of the easiest things to do but a lot of people consider it an unnecessary challenge. Lights and appliances like the home cooling and heating systems, televisions and other equipment should be turned off and unplugged when not in use.
It is important to note that turning appliances off but leaving them plugged in to an energy source contributes to ‘phantom load’ and consumes a lot of energy that could otherwise be saved and put to better use.
Install motion sensors
A significant amount of energy can be saved by replacing your regular home switches with occupancy and vacancy sensors which automatically turn off and on when the presence of a person is detected.
Power companies now offer lighting solutions which maximize performance, efficiency and save costs. Solutions like Intelligent Lighting Solution (ILS) monitor and reacts to occupancy. These systems also have absence functionality incorporated to maximise energy savings.
Interchange air conditioning units with fans and radiators
Increased usage of stationary, ceiling and whole-house fans to cool your home can reduce the need for air conditioning units thus saving energy and costs. In winter, use an oiled filled radiator instead.
Upgrade home appliances frequently
Upgrading appliances being used at home or purchasing new ones occasionally can also reduce energy and save costs. This is because newer appliances are increasingly being built with considerations for reducing the load to power systems and reducing energy consumption.
Following the above tips will go a long way in improving energy efficiency and support the government efforts to reduce energy costs and wastage, while conserving available energy for utilisation in homes and buildings.