3 Ways To Cut Eskom Out Of Your Electricity Bill

The 2008 Eskom energy emergency has been deemed a scam. Cut Eskom out of the deal by exploring sustainable energy solutions like solar power.
U
Melissa
Cohen
Published: Friday, February 17th 2017
General
The findings of two investigations say the 2008 Eskom load-shedding debacle, that cost the country R300 billion, was a completely engineered, get-rich-quick farce. We look at what Eskom did this time, as well as energy alternatives to suit your budget.

Eskom May Have Benefited From Irregular Contracts

Auditing firm, Deloitte, investigated suspicions of dodgy dealings within the power utility during the 2008 blackout period. Their 2011 report contained details of numerous irregularities that fuelled suspicions the blackout emergency was engineered to benefit favoured companies. But, news of the blackout investigation only emerged days after a 2015 report by law firm Dentons. The Dentons report also raised concerns about Eskom senior executives who may have benefited from contracts and who’d paid up to 200% more than necessary for coal. The Deloitte investigation looked specifically at emergency procurement contracts concluded in 2008. The report said that Eskom’s lead procurement negotiator, Koos Jordaan, was responsible for buying more than R10 billion of emergency coal during the 2008 power crisis. It emerged that he negotiated several "irregular" contracts - including one with a friend. He resigned shortly after an investigation was launched and is now a senior executive of a private coal company. The full Denton’s report was released online by the Financial Mail on Tuesday, but has since been deleted.
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3 Ways To Cut Eskom Out Of Your Electricity Bill

Jay Naidoo, CEO of All Power Systems – a sustainable energy service provider catering to the commercial market, says the average middle to upper income home in South Africa spends about R1500 to R5500 on electricity every month. Naidoo says the three most common practices to understand when tackling your energy consumption are: 1. Changing your energy behaviour. 2. Introducing energy efficient products. 3. Investing in solar power. The first two focus on the reduction of energy usage. But the third, and more pricey, investment involves the sustainable generation of energy for your home.

1. Changing Your Energy Behaviour

According to Naidoo, this is the cheapest and easiest way to reduce your bill as it involves changing the behaviour of members of your household towards energy consumption in the home. Examples of these behavioural adjustments include:
  • Switching off your lights as soon as you leave the room.
  • Switching off your TV (and not leaving it on stand-by).
  • Using an air conditioning unit only when required.
“These measures could contribute to a 5-15% saving on your energy bill,” reports Naidoo.

2. Introducing Energy-Efficient Products / Technologies

These products reduce your home's current energy consumption and include LED lights, solar water geysers, energy efficient appliances, eco heaters, etc.
“This measure could contribute to about a 20-40% saving on your energy bill.”

3. Investing In Solar Power

This technology actually generates electricity and circulates it through the electrical grid of your home. Incorporating solar in the home could contribute to 10-100% saving on your energy bill. Depending on your battery size and application. Naidoo adds that most residential homes require battery systems, as the power needs to be stored when the sun is unavailable.
“In my opinion, by following a process of changing your behaviour, then reducing your consumption through efficiencies, and then building a solar system that matches your reduced consumption, you will ensure / maintain a high yield on your energy investment. It is also worth mentioning that investing in green technology, for your home, increases the overall valuation of your property.” CLICK BELOW to view three steps to give your car a waterless car wash.

How Much Does Converting To Solar Power Cost?

Naidoo reports that, for the average middle income home to convert 100% to solar power, it could cost anything between R100 000.00 and R200 000.00. Before making the decision to go solar, he advises there are a few considerations to be made. One of which are your home’s energy usage patterns. This will determine a low-risk, high-yielding solution that effectively, and efficiently, addresses your energy requirement. He advises seeking a well-established and experienced utility / energy management company to log and monitor your household energy, to ensure a suitable system size.
“An over-sized solution will bring about a low ROI, generate wasted energy, and a long pay-back period. An under-sized system won’t achieve maximum results.“
Another consideration is your Rand kw/h rate of electricity (the Rand per unit rate of electricity which you are paying).
“The higher your Rand kw/h rate, the more financially viable an investment into solar, or energy-efficient, technologies will be. If you are paying a low Kw/h rate, solar may not be the right investment for you. You should then consider investing in the less expensive energy-efficient technologies.”
A kw/h rate, which could be deemed as low for solar, is around R0.75 - R1.15 p/u, and high at R1.20 - R3.00 p/u.
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Other Considerations To Be Made:

  • Ensure the technology used is certified by the City of Cape Town’s Small Scale Embedded Generation Department.
“The list of approved products are available on the CoCT website, and most municipalities outside of the Western Cape have similar departments.”
  • Get references for the company performing your installation.
“Last time I checked, the Western Cape alone had just over 200 registered energy companies currently operating. It may be wise to request some references.”
  • Enquire as to whether basic, after-sales services are included.
“Most companies offer maintenance contracts as an additional value-add. This means they will come out and clean and check-up on your system. The solution itself should come with a five-year guarantee / warrantee on the inverter. 25 years on the panels, one year on the mounting structure, and 20 years on your cabling (which are you main components).”
  • Continue to monitor and evaluate your household energy patterns and achieved reductions until optimal results are achieved.
“Most solar rooftop solutions are fitted with ‘Solar Logger’. This monitors the output of the solar system and displays them in an easy-to-read format. “By adopting these measures, you should be able to achieve significant savings, in the smartest way possible for your household,” concludes Naidoo.