Johannesburg,  May 2015 – With load-shedding an almost daily occurrence, many South Africans find themselves sitting in the dark and wondering whether there will ever be light at the end of the Eskom tunnel. If, like many of us, you are wondering what you can do to become less reliant on Eskom – the options available to you could be far more affordable than you think.
In a bid to help consumers learn more about the options available to them if they would like to take their homes off the grid BrightRock, provider of the world’s first ever needs-matched life insurance, BrightRock, recently hosted an Iris Session on Google Hangouts. In fact, Adam Oxford, Editor-In-Chief of Hypertext Media shared that renewable energy technology is becoming more affordable and consumers can begin to take advantage of this technology today. “We run a lot of figures at work and we reckon that we are already at a tipping point. You can install solar power now if you are prepared to go for a ten-year pay off period, it’s much cheaper to install solar than Eskom according to our figures,” Oxford says.
Oxford adds, “What I find amazing is that there are no banks that are putting a financing package together to say install solar and pay it off for R1500 a month for the next 10 years. Consumers are paying more or less the same as you would for electricity from Eskom; the difference is that solar installation is more reliable.”
One area that has already put plans in place to take itself off the grid is Parkhurst, a small suburb in the North of Johannesburg. Ryan Beech, head of the energy department of the Parkhurst Village Residents & Business Owners Association was part of the discussion, and said that a change of mind-set is the most crucial step to becoming a more self-reliant energy consumer. He says, “Out of necessity comes change and if you feel that you are no longer able to keep up with the ever increasing electricity bills, then you will adapt your consumption habits so that your reliance on the grid matches what you are willing to spend on electricity,” Beech explained.
Beech adds that it need not be an expensive exercise: “70 to 80 percent of South African energy requirement in a house is either for space or water heating. If you just want to run lights and TV you do not need a lot of energy. So if you run your water heating on solar geysers, it will cut your consumption right down. Do what you can to fix your insulation, change your lights to LED,” Beech added.
Joburgers aren’t the only people thinking of creative and affordable ways to become less reliant on the national energy provider. According to Evan Rice, the CEO of Green Cape, using renewable energy is an investment thanks to the cost-savings generated. “You could buy a solar water heater for a household of four people for between R15 000 to R20 000 and you would be able to get this investment back in three to four years.”
While technology is getting cheaper, electricity costs are escalating. Most of us will need to find alternative ways of making sure we can keep the lights on in our homes. And renewable energy sources like solar and wind seem to be our best bet for the future. For more advice and fascinating insights, view the discussion here.
The Iris session was hosted as part of one of many conversations taking place on BrightRock’s Change Exchange (www.changeexchange.co.za), a dynamic online platform that taps into the emotions behind consumers’ biggest life changes. It is a space where people can learn from others going through the same Change Moments, ask questions and share experiences.