Why are my electric bills so high?

5th January 2022

With frightening predictions in the media lately, we all all wondering ‘Why are my electric bills so high?’.

Electricity prices are rising globally. No surprise there. However, in countries like South Africa, they have skyrocketed over the last decade with another predicted rise of over 15% in 2022. By why are electric bills so high, and more importantly why are they still rising?

A precious commodity in a pandemic world.

Globally, the number of people with no access to electricity has decreased from 860 million in 2018 to 770 million in 2019. However, in Africa, the number of people with access to electricity has increased during the Covid era. Prior to the Pandemic, the number without access to power had declined steadily since 2013. Roll on to present day, and it’s back on the increase. Mainly due to the pandemic. With rising population and an increasing demand for power, electricity is a precious commodity. Sadly for countries with aging power infrastructures, it can also be a vastly unstable and costly one.

Load shedding is another topic of contention. Rolling blackouts and load shedding have become a way of life for many South African residents who must manage staged blackouts on a regular basis. As demand outstrips supply, many power companies simply cannot keep up. As a result, they need to stabilise supply by staging engineered blackouts. 

With such pressure is it any surprise that an increase of over 15% is expected in electricity prices? 

What can you I about it, and how can I reduce my electricity costs?

Currently, South Africa is one of the worlds least energy efficient nations using almost 40% of Africa’s electricity. However, there are a number of ways you can reduce your electricity costs with little or no cost outlay. Simple changes to your everyday lifestyle can and will add up.

What uses the most electricity in a home?

It’s no big secret that geysers, washing machines and air conditioning are amongst the top energy users. However, it’s the lesser-known everyday items that can run your bills up fast.

  • Lighting – Old fashioned non energy efficient LED lighting is a major culprit.
  • Appliances – Older appliances aren’t energy efficient and are costing you way more than they need to.
  • Kettles – Overfilling or constant use if you’re a coffee lover will have your bill rising in no time.
  • Gadgets – Think about all those items that are left plugged in but not in use? Chargers, Consoles, TV’s, Computers etc. Leaving gadgets plugged in or on standby is not only a potential fire risk, but it’s costing you money too.

Here’s our top 5 energy saving tips.

  • Lighting – Replace your bulbs for LED, energy efficient alternatives. A small investment but they’ll last longer and save you a ton in the long term.
  • Appliances – Upgrade to ‘A’ rated, energy efficient appliances and always use the ‘ECO’ function where possible.
  • Standby – Turn it off and unplug if not in use! That goes for your TV, Phone Charger, Games Console, Hairdryer etc. 

Go Smart – Using smart plugs, meters and appliances will help you to lower your energy costs by using energy more effectively at the right times. Using timers or smart switches will help to manage your ‘high’ energy users such as geysers, pool pumps and air conditioning. Only using them at specific times or during lower rate tariffs can make a huge difference.

Every Degree Counts – Air Conditioning is expensive to run. Turning the temperature up by a degree won’t make a huge difference to you, but it will to your pocket over time.

It’s good news for businesses too. The PSEE (Private Sector Energy Efficiency) programme was implemented with a specific goal of raising energy efficiency. Highlighting the potential to reduce costs with an investment of £8.6 million awarded by UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID).

What else can I do?

Longer term planning and investment play their part. Investing in sustainable ‘green energy’ from renewable sources such as Solar PV or Solar Batteries is an excellent way to change the way you think about use energy.

Harnessing the natural sunlight for free daytime electricity with Solar PV is a great place to start. Combine that with a Home Solar Battery such as the Soltaro AIO ESS and the excess solar generated throughout the day is stored. Use it anytime, day or night as you need it.

By generating your own electricity and storing the excess for later in the day. You can control your electricity generation and lower your bills substantially. You also have the bonus of seamless blackout protection for unstable grids or load shedding. Imagine never again having to worry about load shedding and lowering your energy bills at the same time? 

The next time you ask yourself why your electricity bills are so high consider this. Have you made the small tweaks in your everyday lifestyle? Are you prepared to take the next step into self-generation through renewable technology? Is there more you can do?

Sadly, the cost of electricity is steadily rising and our demand growing. With the demise of fossil fuels, we will need to focus more on renewable energy. Collectively we can all make a difference to our own pockets and the environment one step at a time. Maybe its time to stop asking why your electricity bill are so high and take that next step…

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