Electricity prices rise again – here are five tips for saving electricity this winter

28 June 2017

The latest price hike will come into play this weekend.

Although many consumers have already switched to prepaid electricity in an attempt to lower their electricity bill, many still end up spending unnecessarily high amounts of money on electricity in winter.

Shadrack Palmer, head commercial officer at FNB Service Provider, says their clients spent an average of 12 percent more on their electricity accounts last year than they did the previous winter.

This was also on top of an electricity price increase of 9,4 percent as of April last year.

This Saturday Eskom will introduce the latest tariff increase of 2,2 percent to all municipalities. It might not sound like much but many of us are already living in fear of that monthly electricity bill.

These tips can help you keep your electricity costs down:

1. Lighting

Use energy-efficient lightbulbs and switch lights off when you’re not using a room. It makes a massive difference, insists Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at FNB.

2. Stay warm

The City of Cape Town’s consumer department advises that you first make sure that you’re warmly dressed enough before you switch on a heater.

Cotton works well in summer but in winter you should consider synthetic fabrics like fleece or wool; as it does a better job of trapping heat. A beanie or warm hat will also help because a great deal of body heat is lost above the shoulders.

First try a hot water bottle before you switch on an electric blanket.

And if you need to use one try to only use it on high for a few minute and then shut it off once you’re in bed. Gas heaters and stoves can also help to keep electricity usage at a minim in winter.

3. Warm water

Set your geyser at 60°C, is the City of Cape Town’s advice. This will make a massive difference to the electricity bill.

Also switch it off if you’re going to be away from home for a few days, seeing as though the geysers element keeps heating water all day if it’s switched on. Also don’t use hot water unnecessarily.

Rather wash your hands with cold water and soap, and use the plug.

By taking shorter showers you can use five times less electricity than by taking a bath and also 80 percent less water. In most homes, the geysers are the electricity guzzlers so you will make a huge saving if you make use of a timer.

4. Fridges and freezers

Older models generally use a great deal more electricity than newer ones since they need to work harder to maintain their cold temperatures.

Consider buying yourself a new fridge or freezer or having yours repaired.

5. Little things that can make a huge difference

Use a swimming pool cover, even in winter: filters use way too much electricity. Always keep track of the smaller appliances in your home which haven’t been properly switched off and are on standby mode as they can use a lot of electricity.

The City of Cape Town also suggests that you make the best of your windows if you have a north facing home. Open all your windows so that the warmth of the winter sun gets in, but only open them for fresh air if the temperatures get high enough at midday. And then be sure to close them as soon as the sun begins to set and temperatures drop.

Lastly you should consider investing in a geyser which uses solar power, this way you can save on around 25 – 50 percent of your electricity bill.

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