Make every cent count

electricity savings

With at least 72 per cent of South Africans cutting down expenses in their budget, you too may be wondering how best to shave off some costs so that you can keep up with inflation. We looked at a few trusty tips to help you make every cent count and hopefully save more than a few Rands in the long run.

Watch the electricity meter

The City of Cape Town recommends the following top ten ways to save electricity and reduce your monthly bills:

  • Maintain your geyser temperature at 60°C. You could get your plumber to turn the temperature down for you or you could do it yourself. First, switch off the electricity circuit at the mains. Then, undo the cover over the electrical element of the geyser and turn down the thermostat using a screw driver.
  • Turn off your geyser when you go on holiday or if you are going to be away for the weekend.
  • Insulate your geyser. A geyser blanket is particularly recommended if you have an older geyser. Also insulate the water pipes leading from the geyser for the first three metres.
  • Install a solar water heater. This can typically save you about two thirds of your water heating costs and should be installed with a timer for the best saving. You can get a rebate from Eskom if you use an approved supplier in your area. Visit
  • Use less hot water. This is as easy as it sounds – have a shower instead of filling the bath, only fill the kettle with as much water as you need, use cold water to wash your laundry and wash a load of dishes rather than one dish at a time.
  • Turn off your appliances at the plug. Appliances such as televisions and DVD players, which remain on “standby” when not in use, draw about 20 per cent of more of normal electricity use.
  • If you have a pool with a cleaning system pump, reduce its operating hours to the minimum such as six hours a day. Clean the pool filters regularly, use a pool cover in summer and turn off the pump at times during winter.
  • Only use your heaters or heating system to warm up rooms that are occupied. Fan or oil heaters with thermostats are the most energy-efficient types of heaters and should be switched off if the room is unoccupied. A really simple solution is to dress in warmer clothes (layers if necessary) and use blankets to keep warm.
  • Install an energy efficient shower head. To test your shower head, hold a bucket under the shower head for 12 seconds. Measure the amount of water in the bucket with a measuring jug. If you have collected more than two litres of water, your showerhead is inefficient.
  • Install Compact Fluoroscent Lamps (CFLs), which use 75 per cent less power than incandescent bulbs and also last longer. Switch off lights in rooms that are unoccupied.
  • This article was first published in City Press on 14 July 2013. 

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