African Utility Week Director Gives Tips on Greener Christmas Decorations and Gifts This Holiday Season

Cape Town, South Africa, December 12, 2012 --( Christmas is a great time to introduce energy saving habits into a household as many easy and simple changes in the way we live can end up putting extra money into your pocket. Higher electricity prices in South Africa have become an increasing strain on consumers’ monthly expenses and Eskom recently announced that it had applied to the state regulator Nersa to further increase the price of electricity by 16% every year. This means that South Africans could on average pay just over double the current electricity price by 2018.

“As consumers we have a lot of decision making power when it comes to how we use and save energy,” says Claire Volkwyn, who is the programme director of the annual African Utility Week conference and expo in Cape Town.

“There are a variety of ways we can use a lot less electricity this holiday season such as using LED* Christmas lights which use 90% less electricity than regular Christmas lights. Also invest in solar powered outdoor lights which can also be used on the Christmas tree and only come on at night.”

Volkwyn continues: “get everyone in the family involved this December and challenge them to think of creative ways to save energy and make it a competition – and then reward the family by taking them out to dinner with the money you have saved! This way everyone starts to think about living greener and it becomes a way of life. African Utility Week is also a partner in Eskom’s 49M campaign, and we embrace the energy efficient use of power, not just in our company, but in our homes and personal lives too.”

More tips to be more energy friendly this holiday season:
1) Buy gifts that don't use electricity or batteries. Up to 40% of all batteries are purchased during the holiday season. Buy environmentally friendly gifts such as solar chargers for laptops, cell phones and solar-powered torches.
2) Don’t use the tumble dryer unnecessarily – it’s summer, so take advantage of solar powered drying.
3) Turn off the room lights when the Christmas tree lights are on.
4) Set a timer to Christmas and outdoor lights to limit the time they are on.
5) Create a romantic or devout atmosphere by using candles instead of lights.
6) Enjoy the weather and celebrate the holidays outside with a braai instead of cooking on a stove. Or enjoy cold meats and salads during this summer season – it’s healthier and saves on power
7) If you’re going away, turn off/down the empty refrigerator.

More advice for creating a more energy efficient home during the year:
- Invest in a geyser blanket. Unless the geyser is properly insulated, switching it off does not save electricity.
- Insulate the roof to make the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter and thereby saving on using heating and cooling devices.
- Switch off appliances at the source when not in use.
- Replace bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps).
- Limit the use of down-lighters in your home. All the heat they generate is lost power
- Use cold water to do laundry, it saves electricity and is better for the clothes.

For the past 12 years, the African Utility Week conference and exhibition has helped to reduce the energy consumption of commercial and industrial large power users and has assisted in African utilities providing electricity and water to all of Africa. The event brings together thousands of utility professionals from across the globe to learn, share knowledge and debate the key topics that will secure the future development of Africa’s power industry. These include energy efficiency, improved service delivery, renewable energy, collaboration across the continent and investment in new power projects. Stakeholders across the industry attend the event, from Energy ministers, utilities such as Eskom, municipalities and regulators to investors and technology and service providers. Attending the African Utility Week exhibition is free when registering in advance and it showcases energy saving technologies and services for the industry from more than 250 providers and features hands-on demonstrations and workshops on the exhibition floor.

*LED=light-emitting diodes

What is 49M?
Eskom’s 49M campaign encourages all South Africans to take the 49M pledge to save at least 10% electricity.

The dates for next year’s African Utility Week are:
Exhibition & Conference: 14-15 May 2013
Pre-conference Workshops: 13 May 2013
Site Visits: 16 May 2013
Location: CTICC, Cape Town
African Utility Week
Annemarie Roodbol
+27 21 700 3558