Call for rationing to save energy

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Academics believe South Africa has to re-look at ways to save energy to ease the strain on Eskom and reduce power outages, University of Johannesburg academics Harold Annegarn and Chris Cooper told a press briefing on Friday.

Annegarn, who was also involved in the Energy Efficient Building Design Project, said. "It is important to take the environment into perspective even when we build low cost houses."

Cooper, a director of the Institute for Energy Studies attached to the university, said it was important to look at day-light saving.

"We have to be far more flexible in how we allow our employees to work. If people do not go to work at the same time, it extends the peak and flattens it and also reduces liquid-fuel consumption on the road.

"As a species we need to re-look at what we are doing to the planet," Cooper said.

The first energy efficient low-cost house was built in Protea South, Soweto, and 400 more have been built in Cape Town. Cooper said it was also important for locals to learn to save electricity.

"If the consumer is not ready to save, rationing has to take place. If we do not ration we will have more power cuts," said Cooper, adding that South Africans were not using electricity efficiently.

"Perhaps we need to tax inefficient light bulbs and appliances and subsidise their manufactures so they can produce efficient appliances.

"Otherwise we will continue to rant about supply, not only with electricity but with oil."

He said there must be education on the implications of energy at school level.

"Eskom is an efficient and well-run company. It rolled out electricity to the poor before it was fashionable to do so," said Annegarn.