Because 70% of South African homes are prepaid and everyone is an ‘inclining block tariff’ – i.e. you pay more as you buy more electricity – many South Africans really don’t understand what their electricity usage costs them. One day you spend R500 on electricity and get 560 units, another time you pay R500 but only get 330 units (actual numbers based on Eskom Homelight 60A 2013/14 tariff). Even when there isn’t load shedding, customers feel left in the dark by Eskom. They are confused and although there is some useful advise around, they can’t see how that translates into savings.
We recently visited a customer who had diligently written down how much she’d spent on electricity every month for the last 3 years – that helped her understand that she had a problem (she was spending over R1,200 per month, but her neighbours only spent R500!) but didn’t give her or us any clues on how to solve that problem.
There are only TWO ways to reduce your electricity bill:
- Cut how much you use – reduce your electricity consumption
- Cut your tariff – get any free credits you’re owed, get on the right tariff, and buy credit at the right time
This first series of Homebug Saves focuses on the first one of these – How to cut your electricity usage. The first step to reducing your consumption is to understand it. Once you can see when and where you use electricity you can take the right steps and make informed choices about how to reduce it. Over the following weeks and months we’ll help explain the ways our customers have reduced their electricity bills by:
- Cutting out waste – making sure things aren’t left on when you don’t want them – e.g. underfloor heating when you’re asleep or lights on when you’re at work
- Removing ‘phantom’ loads – like stopping a water leak, we help people realise how much is being used by silent users – fridges, satellite TV boxes on standby etc.
- Making lower-cost decisions – using the tumble drier less, defrosting food in the fridge rather the microwave
- Controlling big users better – using intelligent geyser, irrigation and pool pump timers and controllers
- Making smarter investment decisions – should I buy a new geyser, geyser blanket or Solar Water Heater? Should I buy LED lights, how much will I save?
Homebug users can do this because they can track their electricity consumption every minute, every day, month by month using Homebug. You can track your electricity consumption without Homebug, by reading your meter regularly, but who has the time or energy to write down your meter reading every day, let alone every hour or every minute of everyday. Homebug attaches to the front of your prepaid meter and sends your energy consumption minute by minute to our website. You can log into our website wherever you are and see how much electricity your house is using right now, or over the past week, day, month or year! Armed with that data we help you figure out the best way to reduce your consumption and cut your electricity bill.
We hope you enjoy this series on how to reduce your electricity bill and we’d love your feedback in the comments section.
Please tell us what you found useful and interesting, what you want more help on, any burning energy saving questions and most importantly tell us how much you saved! Also, if you’re interested in writing for Homebug Saves on any topic that you think would be interesting for our readers, please tell us in the comments section, or using the contact us page.