With Eskom reintroducing load shedding, South Africans could be facing a dark festive season.

According to Budget Insurance, with a collective effort, it’s possible to minimise the frequency and effects of load shedding – all while saving yourself money and looking after the environment.

“Many South Africans are left scratching their heads on how to cope with high energy prices, as well as how to curb load shedding and its effects on their businesses and homes,” says Susan Steward from Budget Insurance. “Fortunately, it’s truly a case of ‘many hands make light work’, in any sense of the word, and each of us can play our part to limit load shedding or even stop it in its tracks.”

Start with a power audit:

  1. Smart plugs for smart people: smart plugs are an effective way to help you maintain your power consumption and keep your home energy efficient with little input. Smart plugs can be set to switch off your appliances such as TVs and sound systems entirely as opposed to putting them onto stand-by mode which guzzles power. Smart plugs typically have a companion app allowing you to set preferences, schedules and names for the devices.
  2. Time for timers: timers, or smart switches, whether for geysers, pool pumps or security lights will help you only consume electricity when these items need to be used. The geyser is one of the most energy consuming items in the household and a smart switch allows this to be turned on or off when necessary.
  3. Out with the old: letting go of large appliances such as a fridge can seem counter-productive when trying to save money but newer fridges are far more energy efficient than the one which has likely been part of the family for a number of years. Appliances are graded from A to G on their efficiency, with A being the most efficient and G being the least.
  4. The habit of saving: Get your entire household into the habit of actively turning off any lights and appliances that are not in use and not using any of them for longer than required.
  5. Long-term planning: putting in solar panels, switching out electricity-run stoves and ovens for gas and replacing air conditioning with ceiling fans and fire places are some energy-saving, long-term investments. A pre-paid electricity meter would also be an effective way to monitor your home’s power consumption and assist with budgeting for power on a monthly basis.

“The best way to save and conserve power is by ensuring everyone is on the same page about what to do. Do your children, partners and housemates know how much is being spent on electricity every month? Through a group effort and by making a conscious choice to save electricity, the best results can be achieved,” says Steward.