South Africans can now buy electricity monitoring systems that are affordable and have been specifically adapted to this market. This will allow them to dramatically reduce their electricity consumption by identifying the ‘power hogs’ – both the appliances they use, and their own habits – to save scores or even hundreds of Rands per month on electricity bills.
“We did a comprehensive survey of the monitoring products available, and chose the two units that give the maximum bang for your buck. We worked with our supplier to ensure that the units conform to the requisite standards, as well as customising them to providing cost information in our local currency,” explains Sébastien Lacour, MD of Powertime. “We are also offering related services such as installation, advice and audits, so that people with less technical skills can get the most out of the monitoring technology.”
The entry-level product is the TREC, at R699, which lets you see your consumption in real time, in watts and in Rands. The ENVIR model at R1,399 is more advanced, allowing users to graphically compare consumption to previous days and months. It also stores your energy data and can export it on your computer via USB cable or via Internet. Both devices connect wirelessly to the sensor on the electricity utility incoming cable, allowing the monitoring unit to be conveniently placed anywhere in the house. The products can be bought online using credit card, debit card or EFT and shipped anywhere in South Africa. More energy-saving products will be added to the Powertime Store over time.
Cost-conscious electricity consumers can also order energy audits online – Powertime’s highly trained staff can visit your premises and use the latest sensor technology to analyse both your consumption and identify the appliances using most of your power, and give straightforward practical advice on how to cut costs. This applies to domestic appliances, as well as major electricity gobblers like under-floor heating and swimming pool pumps.
“Five years ago the electricity bill was just not a huge problem – you just used power and paid the cost. Now, as electricity prices have shot up – and we’re more conscious of the impact unrestrained consumption has on our environment, South Africans are starting to worry about how to cut usage. This starts with monitoring – you can’t save power by guessing,” says Lacour.
Recent studies in both US and UK found that energy-conscious consumers were worrying far too much about the wrong things – painstakingly unplugging cellphone chargers when not in use, but leaving inter-leading doors open during winter when the heaters were on, or replacing 60W lamps with energy-saver lamps, but regularly doing half-loads of laundry.
“Powertime’s parent company, Energy Intelligence, has heritage in providing consulting services to large corporates and property developers in South Africa and Europe – we have the technical expertise in this area, plus the years of insights that building Powertime into South Africa’s leading mobile provider of pre-paid electricity has given us. Now, we’re putting the best tools and all of our expertise into the hands of South Africa’s consumers to help them save money, save power, and reduce their carbon footprint,” concludes Lacour.