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electricity prices

  • Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark

    Load Shedding - Don't be left in the dark again.

    Is Load Shedding back? Are we forever waiting for another run of stage 1, 2 and 3bs? Whenever there is a power cut, many of us wait with bated breath for the dreaded announcement. For some South Africans, load shedding has never stopped. After another scare a few weeks ago, we at Sustainable.co.za have decided to write a guide on how to prepare yourself for power cuts. From small cost effective solutions, to larger, long term applications, we have ensured that we have it all.

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  • Come out of the Cold this Winter

    Winter has arrived in Summer-loving South Africa, and that means the days are darker, the nights are colder and the electricity bills start creeping skyward.

    At Sustainable.co.za, we are all about improving lifestyles the green way, not only through energy efficiency but by saving you some cash for a rainy day adventure.

    Let there be Light

    The fact of the matter is that the nights last longer in the cold months, so lighting is imperative in keeping things cosy. Simply replace your lights with their LED counterparts and they can burn all night while still using a fraction of the power used by incandescent bulbs in the evenings.

    Some people are concerned by the quality of the light but fear not, we have a wide range of LED lights available in warm, natural and cool white, catering to all tastes. Our Solar Lights are also great for outdoor use, whether you crave the ambiance of outdoor lighting or have them installed for safety reasons, we have what you need.

     

     

    Snuggling up

    It is very easy to reach for the aircon or electric heater/ blanket when the days are cold but we have some alternative solutions that will warm your cockles.

    If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, rather opt for a roaring fire over an electrical heater or aircon. Anything that generates heat uses a lot of power so the environment and your pocket will feel the expense. We have fantastic eco-logs and firelighters available. Our eco-logs burn longer and hotter and create minimal smoke and our firelighters don't smell at all because, you guessed it, zero parrafin! Best of all, our prices match standard bags of wood and firelighters that can be purchased at retail shops so it's a win-win kind of deal.

    To beat the cold in bed, pile up on the blankets, or put a hot water bottle in the bed for a few hours before you go to sleep at night.

     

    Keep things Steamy

    Geysers struggle in Winter and become less efficient due to the cold. Keep your geyser happy by wrapping it in a blanket and pipe insulation and greatly reduce heat loss. Gas geysers are also a great alternative to standard electrical geysers and can be great back-up for off-grid homes. For those that do not like wasting water, Instant Water Heaters are a great way to save on water by reducing the time it takes for the water to heat up. This also allows you to switch your geyser off and save on electricity. Why not install an Efergy Electricity Monitor so you can watch all your savings?

     

     

    Warm Winter Fare

    In many households across South Africa, the aunties start gearing up for Winter by hauling out their secret stew and curry recipes and spend all day cooking for the family. Keep aunty (and your bank manager) happy by investing in a gas stove. For those who enjoy slow cooking, the hot bag can keep the pots hot all day long without using a stitch of electricity. Simply bring the food to the boil and pop it in. It couldn't be simpler. On a personal note, my mom swears by the Eco Zoom. It takes much quicker to cook a rice on this fantastic little wood burner than it does on a conventional stove.

     

     

    Our Sustainable Promise

    Not only do we promise to keep you up to date with the latest and greatest products that will improve your lifestyle and the future of this planet, but we also always ensure that we have a little something extra to offer. This Winter, we will be running a Giveaway looking to Spring (as it ends at the end of Winter) and will be focusing on a Green Camping theme.  Read more about it here. Father's Day is also in June so we have put a spotlight on our green dads and will be running a giveaway on our social media pages so keep an eye out!

    "What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness." -John Steinbeck

  • Nuclear vs Renewable Energy

    We were suddenly given a ray of hope amid the current political gloom when the Western Cape High Court declared the Nuclear Procurement process unlawful. Launched in October 2015 by Earthlife Africa (ELA) and Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI), their case contends that the government is violating the constitution by concluding deals without first debating it in Parliament (read more about the Nuclear Deal). While this will hamper the Nuclear Program, there is still a long fight ahead and all gains made in the interim will stand testament to the value of renewable energy.

    Every step taken towards renewable energy diminishes the argument for Nuclear Energy. Rooftop solar has the potential to put Eskom under a lot of financial strain, leaving no option but to opt for the proven cheaper and safer renewable energy. Every kWh supplied by these alternative sources prevents the release of about 1kg CO² per unit of electricity. As the industry develops and allocates more funds to research and development it will become even more competitive.

    Russian Roulette

    No discussion on Nuclear and Renewable Energy is complete without taking full account of the risks posed by nuclear power. Only November last year was the final structure moved into place at Chernobyl to contain the nuclear waste, replacing the aging concrete structure that was erected in the weeks following the explosion. The biggest ever movable man-made structure is finally in place 30 years after the disaster.


    The catastrophic events following the Fukushima disaster on 11 March 2011 should be a reminder to us that contingency plans are not adequate when dealing with fission reactions. The power plant automatically switched off when the earthquake occurred which means the cooling of the reactors had to be powered externally by 13 diesel generators, only they were flooded by the tsunami causing hydrogen build-up in the reactors and their eventual explosion. The severity of the radioactive leaks into the atmosphere and the ocean will only become evident over time. Even so 116 children in the area have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the disaster, 20 – 50 times higher than the national average.

    The disposal of radioactive waste is considered a minor problem and mostly ignored by nuclear proponents, hence the absence of a permanent disposal plan for the high level waste i.e. spent fuel kept at Koeberg which is growing by 30 tons every year. In addition, 500 steel drums and 100 concrete drums of low to medium level nuclear waste from Koeberg gets buried every year at the Vaalputs Disposal Facility, 100 km south of Kimberley, and this from only two 900 MW reactors compared to 9600 MW planned for Thyspunt. A further cause for concern is the proposed fracking in the area which can lead to earth tremors, a factor almost certainly not considered when the 10 000 hectares was acquired in 1983.

    As if this is not enough problems for the Northern Cape, a local subsidiary of an Australian company, Peninsula Energy, has acquired 750 000 hectares of uranium exploration concessions in the Karoo. The hazards of Uranium mining are well known and pose a much greater threat to the region than commonly acknowledged. Half a million tons of waste rock and 100 000 tonnes of toxic waste tailings will need to be extracted to yield 25 tonnes of Uranium, enough to supply a reactor for one year.

     

     

    Sustainable Energy

    The abundance of solar and wind energy in South Africa are well documented. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) estimates that rooftop solar installation alone can provide 136TWh and the EIA areas can provide a further 420TWh when the aggregate demand currently stands at 225TWh. Critics of renewable energy point out that electricity demand peak in the evening due to increased domestic use and would thus need conventional ‘base load power’. Fortunately, wind power can take up the slack when the sun sets.

    Let’s look at the facts before shunning this as hippie conjecture. In theory, if we allocate 0.1km² for every MW wind generation capacity, our nation’s 1.3 million km² surface area can generate 38 000 TWh wind power per year. This is based on a load factor of 0.36 when in Germany in 2015 working on a load factor of 0.2, wind power amounted to 77TWh (at 44GW capacity), about a third of our annual demand.

    Since the first of four REIPPPP bid windows in November 2011, the cost of Solar Power has dropped from R3.65/kWh to R0.62/kWh and Wind power dropped from R1.51 to R0.62/kWh, whereas the cost of coal power currently stands at R1.3/kWh and Nuclear R1.17 - R1.30/kWh. Sadly the bidding has been stalled by Eskom since November 2015 and 37 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are left waiting to invest over R50 Billion in the country.

    Clearly there are vested interests in the fossil fuel industry that view renewable energy as a threat to its profits. Acting Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko, claims he is prepared to sign the IPP bids at the current tariff, but this may be up to the new CEO stepping into office in June.

  • Fun in the Sun this Festive Season

    The festive season is nearly upon us. Luckily here in South Africa we can enjoy a lovely, warm, sunny Christmas. To take advantage of this great weather, what’s better than having a Christmas braai? Here are some tips to really enjoy your patio and pool in an environmentally friendly way.

    Why Energy Efficient Lighting?

    You can create a fantastical land in your backyard while keeping your family safe with Sustainable.co.za’s range of energy efficient lighting options. Our price range is diverse enough to fit any budget and any need. LED and Solar fairy lights can capture the imagination of your friends and loved ones, while providing quite a few benefits. They may cost more than your average 60W bulb but are definitely worth the investment.

    LED Fairy lights

    LED lighting options have proven to be a better option than standard lighting. Firstly, they are energy efficient; the fact that they produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs means you save on the cost of buying regular lighting in the long run.  Secondly, they last longer than incandescent lights, so you can use the fairy lights for quite a few festive seasons. They are also more durable and robust than conventional light bulbs, so they can survive any boy’s imagination (or lack thereof). They operate at a lower temperature, which translates to less energy wasted through heat, and can save you a pretty penny on your electric bill. Finally, they don’t contain the toxins that are usually present in incandescent bulbs, such as mercury. Unfortunately, this means that any dreams of becoming a superhero after exposure to harmful chemicals are thwarted. We at Sustainable.co.za like you just the way you are.

    Solar lighting can make a great alternative to LED lights while still reaping the benefits.solar colour fairylights In order for the solar fairy lights to remain enchanting all night, the solar panel will need about 6 hours of charge a day. There are 50 lights per string and the string is about 5m long. They are also rather versatile. You can mount the panel in the garden with the spike, or directly to a vertical surface. And then there’s the qualifying factor that makes them true fairy lights, which is that they can be in either blinkable or non-blinkable mode.

     

     

     

     

     

    Daymaker: Solar Flood Lights

    Keeping your family and loved ones safe is top priority while having fun. The best way to do that, while still enjoying your garden, is by investing in flood lights. All Sustainable.co.za’s lighting options are energy efficient, allowing you to enjoy your garden while saving you money in the long run.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    consol solar jar

    For those intimate festive evenings, we suggest our solar consol jars. Their soft, warm light, which is safely housed in a beautiful 1-litre Consol Classic preserve jar, can create the perfect romantic atmosphere. It is literally bottled sunshine. The LED lights are powered by sunlight which is harnessed through solar paneling fitted on the lid.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Badu Solar pool pump

     

    It is statistically proven that the rate of belly-flops increase during our summery festive season. In order to ensure that they take place in clean pools that also take advantage of the abundance of energy from the sun, it would be a good idea to invest in one of the solar pool pumps.

    Standard electrical pool pumps generally wreak havoc on your electricity bill and should be replaced as soon as possible. We now have a comprehensive solution for your pool of up to 60 000 litres. Sustainable.co.za’s solar powered pool pumps are easy to install and packaged for your convenience – they also have a lifespan of approximately 20 years and require virtually no maintenance. We have a wide range of pumps, all innovatively engineered, to suit your budget and save you money in the long run. Because not all solar pool pumps are created equal; before you buy one, make sure you have considered your pool’s needs.

     

     

     

     

    Amongst the hustle and bustle of this modern age, the moments we share with all our family and loved ones are too few and far between. At Sustainable.co.za, our ultimate goal is for those rare, cherished moments to be even more memorable. We hope you have a very merry festive season of sustainability with all your loved ones.

     

     


  • South Africa’s reaction to the increase to electricity prices

    So, NERSA last week announced that electricity prices would indeed be going up, albeit not quite as much as Eskom applied for. The decision was made to increase the tariff by 24.8 percent from April with additional increases of 25.8 percent in 2011 and 25.9 percent in 2012. This effectively means that the average consumer will be paying double what they are now, within 3 years. Perhaps we all just need to turn to sustainable energy sources such as LED lights, Solar Power and Wind Turbines.

    Either way, this electricity price increase is going to have a massive effect on the lives of people and their businesses. Let’s take a look at what South African organisations and the general public have had to say about the hike in electricity prices…

    Job losses and job creation:

    The biggest concern regarding the increase in the price of electricity is that small businesses are going to struggle and thousands of jobs are going to be lost.

    The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) stated that the electricity price hike would have a severe effect on job retention:

    “SACCI estimates that approximately 250 000 jobs will be lost as a consequence and it will be a factor in CPI remaining outside the target range. Statssa reported today that CPI is already outside the range at 6.2%.”

    The Steel and Engineering Industry Federation of South Africa (Seifsa) added that the increase in business electricity prices contradicts the country’s budget which was announced recently:

    “This setback for business and its employees comes a week after the positive budget and [Industrial Policy Action Plan 2] focused on creating an additional 500 000 jobs for new job entrants and create 2,5-million jobs over the next ten years respectively. The first will now be a lot harder to achieve and later will have to start by mopping up the unemployment caused by this announcement".

    Effect on small to medium size business:

    To give you an indication of how this electric price hike will affect small business owners, I found this article relating to Sue van Tonder who runs 3 businesses of her own. She has two fish shops as well as a bakery. Her monthly electricity costs are on average about R24000. Within 3 years, this will double. That effectively cancels out almost her entire profit margin each month. Her only option will be to release some of her workers and get more involved herself.

    Pension Funds:

    There have also been comments stating that the electricity price hike will have an extremely negative effect on pension funds country wide as well. The Institute of Retirement Funds (IRF) had the following to say:

    "Typically, employers contribute around 7.5 percent to employees' pension funds, with employees themselves contributing a like amount. Those employer contributions, however, are not statutory and it is entirely possible that employers will, in fact, be obliged to reduce their contributions as the inflationary effects of the electricity price hikes hit their bottom line."

    The motor industry:

    Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI) commented that the motor industry was going to struggle even more with the introduction of increased electricity prices:

    "The recession has taken its toll on all aspects of the motor industry; with small businesses particularly hard hit... many have had to close. In the face of sacrificed profits, dwindling cash flow and increased costs, businesses in the repair and service sectors, for instance, will find themselves under greater financial pressure. Many will not be in a position to weather the storm, with those at the lower end of the market most vulnerable."

    What does the general public have to say?

    I recently checked out a forum on MyBroadband.co.za and found a post that had been viewed over a thousand times and had a massive response from visitors to the forum. Here are some of their comments regarding the increase in electricity prices:

    “Eskom started at 35%, public hearings probably argued for inflation at 8 or 10% with leeway to 15%. NERSA settles somewhere in the middle with 20 to 25%. Eskom was probably after 25 to 30%.”

    “What's happening with renewable energy? Have government made any plans to start with a proper implementation / testing strategy?”

    “Salaries only increase by 6%, if that, but electricity costs go up by 25%, triple inflation. I don't get it. As far as I can tell, continual price increases higher than inflation essentially means you are going after money that does not exist!. Look what happened to the world economy when they essentially ended up need more money than actually existed”

    “I'm not just worried about the increase in actual electricity prices, but mainly the increase in all other goods and services”

    “I will be kitting my house with as many solar panels as I can fit on the place. I think that with the increase in electricity cost, solar power is becoming more and more viable. I have a quite a lot of flat surface area on my roof... will start with a solar geyser and from there, solar panels and batteries!!”

    Conclusion:

    As you can tell, there has been an extremely negative response from organisations around South Africa and even more so from the average Joe trying to make it by in South Africa. The fact is that the decision has been made and is here to stay. As consumers, we will have to adapt to the increase in electricity prices and perhaps look at ways of finding alternative means of energy.

  • NERSA announce decision on electricity prices tomorrow. What can we expect?

    The National Energy Regulator of South Africa will announce tomorrow what their decision is regarding Eskom’s proposal of raising electricity prices by 35% annually for the next three years. A press conference will be taking place in Pretoria where the announcement will be made. What do we expect from the NERSA announcement, and if they agree to go ahead with the proposal, what effects could this have on South Africans and the economy?

    Commercial and domestic electricity prices have been in the spotlight for a while now. Last year, a 31% electricity price increase was implemented and then Eskom applied for a 45% further increase in October last year. Thankfully, NERSA deemed this proposal unreasonable and immediately denied Eskom permission and instructed them to re-do their calculations. Eskom has claimed that the proposed electricity price increase is to raise money for a R385 Billion power expansion programme which Eskom wishes to implement.

    South Africa has just recovered from its first official recession in 17 years and some think that this increase to domestic and business electricity prices could result in the country falling back into recession.  At the NERSA hearings held in January in Polokwane, Business Unity SA (Busa) CEO Jerry Vilakazi said commented that should NERSA approve the tariff application, then the country “can wave goodbye to an immediate recovery for South Africa's economy".

    Should NERSA approve Eskom’s application of a 35% increase, then as consumers we can not only expect to pay a third more for domestic electricity prices, but the country’s overall inflation rate will most likely increase by about 0.3% which means the Reserve Bank’s target inflation of 3 – 6% would be exceeded – according to the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci). Sacci also added that should the increased tariff be approved, we can expect a loss of around 500 000 jobs countrywide as businesses struggle to adapt to the increased electric prices.

    It has been alleged by numerous parties that NERSA have already approved the tariff increase and that tomorrow’s announcement is simply a formality that needs to be done to make everything legit. We’ll have to wait and see. Be sure to check out the electricity price announcement which takes place at noon tomorrow. We’ll be sure to blog on it right here on Sustainable.co.za so if you do miss it, come back and check out what we think about the decision.

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