6 changes you can make to take the strain off Eskom’s crumbling grid

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has published a new report, showing how South Africans can take control of their electricity usage and what impact it should have on the country’s power crisis.

South Africans have been urged to become more energy efficient, change their behaviour and make use of complementary energy sources, as the country experiences further load shedding and grid outages.

“Taking control of electricity in households by installing energy efficient devices and appliances, while also implementing alternative energy strategies, could minimise the impact of load shedding or grid outages, while also saving money,” the CSIR said.

CSIR principal researcher, Dr Jarrad Wright, outlined some changes that every household could make, and how this would impact electricity demand.

Wright identified the following interventions:

  • Moving the use of electricity around to different times of the day or week;
  • Continue to install energy efficient LED lighting, as well as energy efficient and smart appliances, such as fridges, washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers;
  • Improving electric water geyser efficiency with geyser blankets and piping insulation;
  • Shifting to alternative energy sources;
  • Clean burning cookstoves and increased use of your household braai would reduce the amount of electricity needed for cooking;
  • Replacing your electric geyser with a solar water heater would assist in minimising the amount of electricity needed for water heating at times of high electricity demand.

“This would benefit the power system in its current constrained state and could, in some cases, reduce overall energy costs for the household,” he said.

He also urged households and communities to be careful when buying and installing any new appliances or technologies, and not just install them and assume that they will work perpetually.

“Making use of reputable suppliers and contractors will minimise the risk of house fires, electrocution and exhaust fume inhalation (from standby generators),” he said.

The CSIR’s report provided graphics on how these interventions would impact the country’s daily illustrative demand profile.

South Africa high demand profile

Using LED lighting

Making use of energy efficient appliances

Behavioural changes (to washing, cooking and cleaning)

Clean burn cooking

Using Solar Water Heating

Read: How load shedding has hit take-home pay in South Africa

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