'Give tax breaks for power-saving devices'

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

KwaZulu-Natal real estate mogul Keith Wakefield has urged the government to encourage citizens to save power by providing tax credits.

Wakefield said people who install generators, solar power, insulation and other power-saving devices such as skylights and gas water heaters in their homes and businesses should be able to deduct the cost of this from tax.

The deduction should be off the final tax payment, rather than as part of the tax calculation, he said.

In this way it will become a direct saving for individuals.

"Eskom and the government have said this is a collective problem and that we all have to work together to find a solution.

"However, the government needs to play a major part in this, considering that it encouraged industrial and commercial expansion without ensuring that there was sufficient power."

He said the government also turned down Eskom's appeals for investment several years ago.

"Therefore the government should pay citizens back for investing in saving energy, which ultimately helps the country," said Wakefield.

He said tax incentives could also be used to encourage developers to ensure their properties were energy efficient.

He said the magnitude of the power problem was enormous and if citizens did not help, the situation would only correct itself in a number of years.

But, if people installed alternative power solutions in their homes and businesses, the savings would be substantial and the problem would be resolved a lot earlier.

"Providing tax incentives for energy saving and efficiency has been done internationally."