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Oct 15, 2008

Eskom mulls legislation to enforce energy efficiency

© Reuse this State-owned power producer Eskom has achieved some energy savings through its voluntary energy efficiency programmes, but there is more that needs to be done, an official said on Wednesday.

“There is a view that maybe it [energy efficiency] needs to be legislated, and we [Eskom] are in discussions with the Department of Minerals and Energy about that,” said Eskom demand-side management (DSM) manager Monkwe Mpye.

It was becoming apparent that, if energy efficiency were not made mandatory, South African consumers would not take-up the initiative, despite the steadily increasing electricity prices.

Eskom currently has three-year demand-side management plans for the residential sector, the commercial sector, and the industrial sector. The three major programmes focuss on lighting, solar water heating, and inefficient motor replacement.


One of the key programmes across all of these sectors was the compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL) programme, which was viewed as a success to date, Mpye said.

In the 2004/5 financial year, Eskom subsidised the exchange of about five-million incandescent lightbulbs with CFLs across South Africa. In 2006, about 5,3-million CFLs were distributed in Cape Town and another 2,5-million nationwide, and in 2007, about 4,5-million CFLs were rolled out.

In the 2008/9 financial year, about 16,8-million subsidised CFL exchanges would take place. During this period, a number of retailers had come on board, and large corporate companies also participated through the corporate programme.

In the 2009/10 year, Eskom planned to distribute another 8,15-million CFLs.

Mpye said that some 15 755 temporary jobs had been created in the last three months through the CFL initiative.


Another programme under Eskom’s DSM division was the solar water heater (SWH) programme. Mpye explained that the initial objective was to replace some 900 000 geysers over five years, which would result in savings of 578 MW.

However, only 266 SWHs had been installed in Gauteng, and a mere 86 in KwaZulu-Natal. This was an “appalling” figure, admitted Mpye, particularly since records from insurance companies showed that about 30 000 geysers were replaced in South Africa a month.

Through the SWH programme, there were now 20 accredited South African Bureau of Standards tested suppliers of the devices, and 14 registered distributors.

One of the major reasons for the slow uptake was that the cost was still high compared with the price of a standard electric geyser, and the Eskom subsidy was not felt to be sufficient incentive to install a solar geyser.

Targeted at industry, the electric motor replacement programme has the potential to save up to 60% of energy that is wasted by running motors that are too large for a company’s requirements.

The programme was launched in November 2007, and about 200 motors had been replaced. The intention was to replace about 5 100 inefficient motors.

“The start-up has been slow, but the programme is gaining momentum,” said Mpye.

Edited by: Liezel Hill
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