Six ways to stretch your electricity budget this winter

Many cost conscious consumers who have converted to prepaid electricity to cut their energy bills, are still spending excessively in winter.

Shadrack Palmer, Chief Commercial Officer at FNB Service Provider says FNB customers spent on average 12% more on prepaid electricity purchases during the 2016 winter period than the period after. This was subsequent to a 9.4% average price increase in April 2016.

This year, the national energy regulator has approved a 2.2% average price increase which was implemented on 1 April 2017 for Eskom direct customers and will be effective from 1 July for municipalities.

Following on the increased usage trend during winter and the increased tariffs, Eunice Sibiya, Head of Consumer Education shares six tips on how consumers can lower their electricity bills this winter.

· Lighting – always use energy efficient lights and avoid switching on lights in rooms that you aren’t using at night.

· Gas – consumers that use gas heaters and stoves can reduce their electricity bills substantially in winter. Although converting to gas may require a large investment initially, consumers will save in the long term.

· Geyser – the bulk of electricity in most households is consumed by geysers, especially in winter when it is much colder. Installing a geyser timer to manage consumption during peak times can help consumers to save.

· Refrigerator – old freezers generally use more electricity than new ones as they work harder to maintain cool temperature. Consider servicing or replacing your old fridge to save on electricity costs.

· Appliances on standby mode – appliances that are not completely switched off and remain on standby mode such as TV, Hi-Fi, Decoder and Microwave, collectively consume a lot of electricity at the end of the month.

· Pool – cover your pool in winter when you are not using it as pool pumps and filters use a lot of electricity to keep it clean.

“With electricity costs continuing to increase, it has become imperative for consumers to continuously look for practical ways to reduce their consumption. Any form of saving can go a long a way in helping everyone cope in these tough times,” concludes Sibiya.

FNB currently covers 65% of all local municipalities which have prepaid electricity services and includes coverage for all Eskom municipalities nation-wide.

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