The value of the work is estimated at up to R2 000 per house, but it will cost homeowners nothing. The contractors’ accounts will be settled by Eskom.
A R500m trial run has effected a 80MW saving on the national power grid during peak periods.
On Friday Andrew Etzinger, head of demand management at Eskom, told Sake24 that the new tenders will be considerably larger than those of the trial, but the Eskom board still has to determine the exact amount.
He said that in February Eskom had appointed four contractors for the trial programme – namely Ellies, LDM Energy, Karebo Systems and i4SBF.
These contractors install, at the request of homeowners, time switches for geysers, energy-saving showerheads and – where owners have not yet converted to them – energy-saving bulbs for both ordinary and sunken lighting.
He has the showerheads in his own home and South Africans need not fear that they will be shivering or struggling to wash properly with them, says Etzinger. They save warm water and therefore electricity, but “the level of convenience is the same”.
Some of the contractors also offer time switches for swimming pool pumps, but for those a tariff is payable in places.
Etzinger says it’s part of Eskom’s programme to manage electricity demand. This progamme has been in place since 2004 but is now gaining momentum.
It’s aimed at relieving the pressure on the national grid, especially during peak periods. The time switches on geysers will therefore be set not to be able to switch on between six and eight o’clock, both in the mornings and in the evenings. The homeowner will be unable to change this setting.
He says the installations will also reduce the homeowner’s electricity account and in addition lower everyone’s carbon footprint.
The new bulbs use up 85% less electricity and the showerhead saves 20%, say some of the contractors on Eskom’s web page.
According to Etzinger the target was to spend R500m towards lowering electricity demand by 100MW during peak periods.
Although the programme terminates only at the end of June, a saving of 80MW has already been achieved. If the cost of constructing new power stations is taken into account, this is an excellent return on Eskom’s investment, he says.
The contractors’ agreements with Eskom guarantee their work for three years.
Etzinger says Eskom wants to involve more contractors in the new tenders. Black empowerment groups, women and the youth will receive preference.