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Tips to reduce your winter electricity charges

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The dark days of load shedding brought with them new ways for people to save electricity

The rising cost of living is making everyday life more expensive for South Africans, and with winter on its way and cold, wet weather translating into more nights at home, already high electricity bills could rocket.

Residents must do all they can to bring down this utility cost, and this means looking at new ways to reduce energy consumption, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of Remax of Southern Africa.

The dark days of load shedding brought with them new ways for people to save electricity, including unplugging appliances, filling washing machines and dishwashers with full loads before switching them on, making use of geyser blankets, and installing ceiling insulation for heating and cooling. But Goslett says there are more subtle tricks households can use to lower the meter reading.

One tip is to plug all appliances into a power strip. That way residents only need to unplug one device to prevent them all drawing a phantom charge from the power socket.

Dust on light bulbs is another phantom electricity thief.

“The dustier your light bulbs, the less light they provide, which means you are more likely to switch on additional lights to brighten the space, especially during winter.

Goslett says: “Another thing homeowners often do not realise is that freezers and fridges use less electricity when filled to their recommended capacities. Each item over the recommended capacity will increase electricity usage by between 10% and 20%. A similar effect occurs when these appliances are too empty.”

He encourages homeowners to regularly empty the dust bag on vacuum cleaners as they draw more electricity when full.

Goslett also encourages homeowners to spend less time in front of their TV screens this winter.

“The biggest electricity thief in winter is the television set. We tend to hibernate in front of it when weather does not allow us to go outdoors. Board games and conversations are a great way to stay entertained on rainy days without using any electricity.”

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