Mzansi homeowners could spend 60% more on electricity this winter

Households use approximately 23% more energy in the winter, but with increased municipal tariffs, South Africans will be paying more. File Pciture: IOL

Households use approximately 23% more energy in the winter, but with increased municipal tariffs, South Africans will be paying more. File Pciture: IOL

Published May 22, 2024


South Africans are already feeling the heat of the cost of living crisis, with food prices soaring and with electricity increasing as well.

Homeowners could spend up to 60% more on their electricity bill in winter as a result of the triple threat of winter rates, the implementation of new Eskom electricity tariffs for 2024/2025, and an increase in energy demand during the cold months.

This is according to the managing director of a South African solar provider, Alumo Energy, Rein Snoeck Henkemans.

So, while the municipal tariff increase is technically set to increase by 12.72% in July, following an 18.65% increase last year, Snoeck Henkemans, warned that the situation was even worse for household bills than many realise.

“Household energy use naturally increases during the winter as families spend more time indoors, run heaters for long periods of time, and as geysers work overtime to heat the colder water coming in,” said Snoeck Henkemans.

Statistics SA (StatsSA) said that customers use less electricity during the hottest months of the year, resulting in a fall in demand.

“The opposite is true in winter. As customers use more electricity to keep themselves warm, municipalities buy and sell more to meet the rising demand, peaking in the September quarter,” said StatsSA.

According to Snoeck Henkemans, this means that not only will homeowners be paying more for each unit of electricity following the winter increase and the annual tariff hike, but the rise in consumption will place even more pressure on budgets and could place them in a higher tariff bracket, making each unit substantially more expensive.

He pointed out that municipalities often charge higher winter prices than regular summer tariffs throughout the three-month period from June to August, which coincides with the forthcoming annual increase. The actual rise varies per municipality but can be close to 20%.

Then, to demonstrate how high the ordinary household’s bills could rise in the coming months, the company conducted a case study evaluating homes’ consumption fluctuations over the previous year.

It was discovered that households consumed approximately 23% more energy during the winter. However, some households’ spending increased by as much as 87% throughout this period.

Here are some simple tips to save your electricity consumption this winter from Adrian Goslett, the regional director and chief of RE/MAX of Southern Africa:

Regulate the geyser

The geyser is the most energy-intensive device in the home, so start there. According to statistics, geysers can account for up to 40% of monthly electricity bills.

Goslett said that one approach is to turn off the geyser during the day when no one is home and then put it back on for a fixed number of hours in the evening.

Use energy-efficient light bulbs

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) consume at least 75% less energy than typical incandescent bulbs and last much longer.

While it depends on the type of bulb, certain energy-efficient bulbs can last 10 to 35 times longer than ordinary lights, saving money on both electricity and bulb replacement.

Frequently used household appliances

The energy output of equipment like refrigerators can be lowered by adjusting the temperature gauge. Ideally, the temperature should be between three and five degrees Celsius.

Check other equipment in the house, such as the washing machine. Setting the machine to 30 degrees saves approximately 40% of the energy used to wash clothing.

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