May is National Energy Month in South Africa. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy dedicates the month to educating the nation on the uses of energy.

It is no secret that South Africa is experiencing an energy crisis and as citizens, we need to find solutions urgently. As the Black Energy Professionals Association, we intend to play an instrumental role in not only transforming the energy sector but also sustaining energy use. Below we share some of best energy saving advice so you can make every day count during this Energy Month.

  1. Know-How Much Electricity and Gas You Use – Check your utility bill to figure out how much electricity and gas is used by your household each month. It is going to vary during the different seasons, which is normal. Compare this year to last year to determine if you are using energy. Your provider may also have tools that tell you the average energy use in your area and how your usage compares.
  2. Know Your Electricity and Gas Rates – Utility expenses are not just about how much electricity and gas you use. The rate you pay per kilowatt hour for electricity and per therm for gas is also a big factor. In addition to checking your bill for the current rate, it is important to know what affects the cost to get a better idea of whether electric rates are going up or falling. For instance, did you know 35% of electricity is generated by natural gas? Because of this, the cost of natural gas will influence electricity rates.
  3. Take Part in Local Energy Awareness Activities – National Energy Month has become more prominent in the past years over encouraging energy saving habits. There are energy awareness articles online to help you save energy not only in May, but also throughout the year.
  4. Find Out What Uses the Most Electricity and Gas in Your Home – How much electricity does your TV use? Are there electronics that use electricity even when they are switched off? Thanks to technology, there are appliance energy calculators that can give you an estimate of how much energy each appliance or device uses, but it is only an estimate that does not factor in things like age. A more accurate way to measure energy use of individual devices, electronics and appliances is with an electricity usage monitor. Some are what’s known as “plug load” or “electricity usage” monitors. Plug the monitor into an outlet then plug in appliance or device into the monitor and you will see how many kWh is used.
  5. Get Outside – When you are inside you are most likely using energy. Spending time outdoors during not only saves energy, it also gives you a deeper appreciation for the environment and promotes your healthy lifestyle.
  6. Create a Solar Power Station at Home – Not everyone is able to invest in a solar panel system, but there’s another way to harness free, clean energy from the sun. Chances are you and your family members charge phones and devices every day. A solar battery charging station is a simple solution for keeping devices powered up without increasing your utility bill. All you need is a sunny spot next to a window where the charging pad can lay flat and absorb direct sunlight.
  7. Discover Where Energy Comes From – How is your energy generated? Does it come from renewable energy sources or from a coal-fired plant? It is easy to take electricity and gas power for granted since it is so readily accessible. Knowing how much work and resources goes into powering our homes can give everyone a newfound appreciation for the energy we consume on a daily basis.
  8. Have a Family Energy Discussion – Conserving energy at home is a group effort. Every family member must do their part to see the biggest improvement. Have a family meeting to discuss your current energy use and ways you can work together to reduce it.

Source: Spark Energy