While the public awaits the National Energy Regulator’s decision to grant (or not) Eskom’s proposed 16% price increases, business owners should start streamlining their businesses to absorb electricity price increases.
Kobus Engelbrecht, marketing head of Sanlam Business Market, says that business owners are facing yet another threat to their profitability at a time when they have to work harder to survive a tough trading environment.
However, Engelbrecht says business owners can turn this potential predicament into a cost-saving opportunity.
“Business owners should make the most of this threat, by streamlining their businesses. Start off by rethinking your whole operation, looking at all the business processes, from start to finish.”
Consider the following processes:
- Client procurement
“Once you’ve identified them all, ask yourself how you could make each of these more efficiently.”
Draw up a plan of action. Make staff responsible for implementing the energy-saving actions.
Jannie Rossouw, head of Sanlam Business Market says the plan must include daily assessments of your electricity meter. “If you can measure your usage, you can manage your usage. So find your municipality meter, and take a reading every day. On those days when you use more, review why that is the case, then cut something out.”
A major cost-saving can be made through better water management. Statistics show that 60% of power usage can go to heating water. “Ask yourself if you need hot water in all the processes that you currently are using it. Is cold water not enough? If you do require hot water, look at solar water geysers and heat pumps.”
According Rossouw, there are a range of energy-saving products available.
- Use air conditioners and photocopiers that can automatically switch to a power-saving mode.
- Service and clean your equipment frequently.
- Use energy saving bulbs like Compact Fluorescent Lamps, which use just 20% of the power of normal bulbs, and last six times longer.
- Switch off lights you’re not using.
- Use motion detectors to switch on lights in the evening when you’re not at work, to offer security.
Rossouw says that before buying energy-saving products, business owners should calculate how quickly the cost of the product will be covered by the potential saving. “For example, it could cost R16 000 to buy a solar water geyser. But if you don’t use much hot water, it could take you ten years to make that money back.”
He says energy-saving plans need not be expensive. “On average, South Africa still has a wastage mentality. That’s why, by implementing practical tips, you could enjoy major cost savings, with only a small investment.”