Residents urged to conserve electricity this winter

With winter fast approaching, the demand on electricity supply is expected to increase and the eThekwini Municipality urges residents to use electricity conservatively to ensure a sustained supply to all users.

According to a report issued by the eThekwini Municipality’s head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa, individual households can help by achieving reductions in electricity consumption, especially during peak times, by following a few energy saving tips.

“This includes replacing incandescent globes with energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps which use 80 percent less electricity to give the same light and lasts six to eight times longer. Residents are reminded to turn off lights and space heaters when they are not in the room.  They can also use a thermostatically controlled oil or infrared heater and opt for an electric blanket to warm a bed, instead of a space heater to heat a room. Remember to switch off the electric blanket when going to bed. It is also important to insulate ceilings and seal windows, doors and any cracks. In winter, opening curtains during the day allows sunshine to heat the room,” she added.

Residents who use candles or paraffin stoves for lighting or heating purposes are encouraged to show extreme caution to prevent devastating fires.  Fire chief, Enock Mchunu claimed lit candles and paraffin stoves must never be left unattended. “It is critical that they are never left unattended. They must also not be placed near combustible material such as curtains, table clothes or paper. Children should also not be left unattended near a naked light,” he said.  He urged parents not to leave children at home unattended, especially if candles would be used.

“Matchboxes should not be lying around within easy reach of children. Parents who use these heating or lighting systems should not leave their children unattended as it can lead to dangerous situations with dire consequences. It is also important to alert your closest neighbours when there is a fire. When reporting a fire ensure you provide the correct address. You can also give landmarks to ensure firefighters reach you quickly to control the situation.  In case of fires, residents should try and get out of the house as quickly as possible, only taking their valuables with if they are within easy reach,” added Mchunu. He advised residents to contact the emergency services number, on 031 361-0000, to report a fire.

Mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede urged residents to play their part and conserve electricity.  She advised those using alternative lighting and heating systems to be careful to prevent fires. “We all have a role to play. I urge you to please proceed with caution when using candles or paraffin stoves,” she said.

Residents are encouraged to remember these top 10 energy saving tips:

• Shower instead of bathing

• Use full loads in equipment

• Use small appliances as they consume less electricity

• Set your geyser thermostats at 55 degrees

• Sun-dry washing

• Change to energy saving lamps

• Switch off at the plug point when appliances are not in use

• Do not open the fridge and oven doors unnecessarily

• Insulate hot water pipes

• Switch off lights if there is no one in the room.

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