Cut your electricity bill [Week 4]

In tough economic times consumers need to save where they can to prevent falling deeper into the debt trap.

Over the past three weeks we have been sharing some electricity saving advice so that homes across South Africa can cut their bills this winter.

In week one we shared advice on mastering the geyser, in week two we looked at ways of getting the most from natural heating inside the home, and last week we mastered lights.

In this week’s challenge we challenge you to become aware of everything that is plugged in at your home and how you and your family use it. And because those plugged in cooking appliances draw a lot of electricity, we share some tips on cooking more cost effectively too.

WEEK 4’s CHALLENGE: Master your plugs

When it comes to electronics and appliances plugged into the grid, it is ironically those on standby that draw the most power, making up 15% of your electricity bill (on average). A close second is cooking appliances that make up 11%.

The first step is to know what your electronics/appliances are using when they are on standby/sleeping/ready mode and the second step is to make it a habit to unplug or shut down as many of these as you can.

Here are some of the most common household items and their usage while in standby/sleeping/ready mode:

  • Desktop – up to 83.3W in sleep mode
  • Laptop – up to 54.8W in sleep mode
  • Laptop charger ­– up to 26.4W when plugged in but not used
  • Printer – up to 4 W on standby
  • Stereo – up to 5.44W on standby
  • TV (CRT – up to 10.34W when turned off by remote
  • TV (Rear Projector) – up to 48.5W when turned off by remote
  • DVD Player – up to 10.58W on standby
  • Microwave oven – up to 4.9W on ready with the door closed
  • Modem (cable) – 4.11W on standby
  • Phone charger – up to 4.11W when fully charged but still plugged in, and up to 1W when charger is plugged in but not charging.

For a full list, click here.

Save on cooking:

1. Defrost food in the fridge overnight, and not in the microwave.
2. Use the crockpot for soups and succulent stews.
3. Steam potatoes and vegetables before roasting them.
4. Dinner for 2? Make a dinner for 6 instead and freeze the rest.
5. Use your oven’s fan in order to reduce the temperature needed.
6. Always use the lids.
7. Don’t wait until food is 100% ready before switching the oven or hob off. Switch it off when its 95% ready and let the left over heat finish the job.
8. Braai once or twice a week.
9. Use boiled water from the kettle for cooking.
10. Match your pot size to the hob plate size.

Unplugging standby electronics and appliances don’t make a difference in isolation. However, if the entire family does their part and team it up with energy efficient cooking together with our other electricity-saving challenges, your electricity bill and your carbon footprint will look drastically different.

If you are trying to save everywhere you can but you are still drowning in a load of debt, give Debt Rescue a call. If you are over-indebted one of our debt counsellors will be able to assist you with the way forward so that you only pay what you can afford.

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