Electricity Price Hikes: How to Save Power and Money

By ED Curtson •  Updated: 10/13/22 •  6 min read

In the last few years, electricity has increased by a staggering amount, making it more expensive to buy electricity now than ever before. However, this increase is not reflective of rising inflation. Instead, from 2011 to 2021, electricity increased by 173%, and if Eskom has its way, buying electricity could be substantially more costly in 2022. 

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Eskom has requested the National Energy Regulator South Africa to allow the parastatal to increase electricity by 20.5% in 2022. If this request is approved, every South African household will be impacted. However, there are ways you can save electricity, reducing your electricity bill and power usage – which hopefully could also help Eskom keep the lights on.

Simple Ways To Save Money on Electricity

Although saving electricity requires you to make changes to your lifestyle and a few additional purchases, the initial investment pales compared to the amount you’ll save on electricity. These simple ways to save money are activities many South African households can implement to start saving electricity immediately.

Purchase a Geyser Blanket

In most South African households, using the geyser accounts for 60% of the electricity bill. If your geyser isn’t properly insulated, your geyser constantly reheats throughout the day, using a considerable amount of electricity. You can reduce the need for your geyser to constantly reheat by purchasing a geyser blanket.

Geyser blankets are inexpensive and keep the water in your geyser warmer for longer, which means your geyser won’t need to reheat as often. Furthermore, when you have left it off for a while, it’s likely to heat up quicker, which can also help you save electricity.

Switch off the Geyser

You should also consider switching off your geyser. Even if you have a geyser blanket, your geyser will still use electricity even though it is dormant. When you switch off the geyser, you cut off the electricity supply and eradicate the need to keep the water in the geyser warm. This is also where having a geyser blanket will be handy, as the water will remain warm even when the geyser is off. During times when you’re not at home or using hot water –– generally from 8 am to 5 pm –– you can save a substantial amount of electricity. When you arrive home in the evening, simply switch it on, wait 30 minutes to an hour, and continue your usual routine.

Use The Cold Setting on Your Washing Machine

Even energy-efficient washing machines can guzzle electricity when you’re using a setting that requires the water to be heated. When your washing machine heats water, it uses four times as much electricity as it does when it is using a cold water setting. That difference can be substantial. Think about it: you can do four loads of washing for the same amount of electricity as it would usually take to do one. Furthermore, you’ll save even more, considering most cold-water options are shorter.

Consider Using a Slow Cooker

A slow cooker uses far less electricity than a stovetop and oven but has the added benefit of reducing the amount of time you spend cooking. 

A small stovetop uses about 1200 watts, and larger stovetops use 3000 watts. Conversely, the slow cooker uses between 75 watts and 150 watts, so even if you leave your slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours, you will still use less electricity than if you were cooking on the stovetop for one hour. 

Boil Water in the Microwave

More often than not, you only need a cup of warm water when you’re boiling a full kettle. As a result, you are always boiling more water than you need, which means you’re using more energy than you need to. Boiling a cup of water in the microwave every time you need hot water means you’re only using as much electricity as it takes a microwave to bring the water in the cup to a boil.

How To Save Electricity In Winter

In winter you use far more electricity than in the summer. In summer, you are more likely to spend less time inside; you are also less likely to cook long electricity-intensive meals. However, in winter, you are more likely to use electricity to stay warm –– cooking more hearty meals, using heaters and heating blankets more frequently, wanting to bath and shower in warmer water, etc.

Bundle Up

As much as possible, use non-electric means to keep warm: blankets, thicker clothing, warmer slippers, and so on. These are one-off costs that will be far less costly than electricity. The strategy to bundle up also means you’re less likely to use electric blankets and heaters unless your home is freezing. It also means that should it start load shedding, you still have a way to keep warm. 

Use an Electricity Efficient Form of Heat

On the bitterly cold winter nights and days, bundling up may not be sufficient to keep warm. In these instances, you should try using energy-efficient options to heat yourself and your home rather than the high-consumption heating options.

Wall Panel Heaters

Wall panel heaters are the most energy-efficient heater. They heat as much, if not more, space as fan, fin oil, and bar heaters but only use about 400 watts. Whereas most other heaters use well over 1500 watts.

Nanotech Plug-in Heater

Nanotech plug-in heaters are a newer option, but if you don’t have small children or pets, they can also be a great option to heat –– smaller –– rooms at a fraction of the cost. These heaters plug into your electricity socket and take up very little space, and like panels, heaters use very little electricity. So, if you don’t want to install a panel heater, this is a fantastic option.

Hot Water Bottles

In winter, there are fewer options cheaper than hot water bottles. But, given that hot water bottles have the potential of bursting, you can choose to use a waterless option, which is safer and still cost-effective.

If you want to be prepared for the ever-increasing electricity prices South Africans have been subject to for the past ten years, you should be investing in ways to reduce your electricity bill.

As there seems to be no end in sight for the drastic electricity price increase, using these alternatives ensures you won’t be subject to the tremendous cost of electricity.

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