The country is currently facing a power supply deficiency, which is manifesting through load shedding.
This is due to constraints on imports coupled with generation challenges at Kariba Power Station due to low water levels. It is against this background that the Power Utility has found it prudent to engage with its valued customers through this weekly column for the dissemination of pertinent information.
For this first instalment, we shall talk about the efficient use of electricity in the home.
As customers, we also play a huge role on the pattern and intensity of load shedding, as the latter is largely an intervention by the utility on managing demand against the amount of power either generated internally or imported.
Any mismatch between the two variables compels the power utility to clip excess demand through load management.
There is a lot that customers can do to tame the frequency and pattern of load shedding, and this has to do with our behaviour or actions on how we use power.
Wastage or inefficiency means unnecessary demand on the power system, which also means that the meagre power will be available to less number of customers. This behavioural change applies to all customer categories, but for the purposes of this instalment, we will talk about efficiency with respect to domestic customers.
A lot of the actions that promote energy efficiency in the home do not require any capital outlay, just a change in attitude and the way we do certain things, and we save on power and the resultant bills.
ZETDC is pursuing a number of interventions to mitigate the adverse impact of the current power shortages but there is a need for our valued customers to compliment this effort through efficient use of the product.
Our studies have shown that about 20% of the energy consumed goes to waste, translating to about 300MW. This is quite a huge figure indeed considering that our import bill is on average hovering around the same figures.
The efficiency would not only result in reduced electricity bills but will also create additional capacity to cater for other needy areas, thereby reducing the incidence of load shedding.
The following are some of the measures that customers can follow that will not only result in the reduction of bills but also goes a long way in mitigating the current challenge of load shedding:-
1. Prepare meals early before the evening peak period which starts at about 5pm.
2. The major energy consuming appliances in the home are the geyser and the electric stove make sure your geyser thermostat is set an optimum temperature of about 65 degrees Celsius.
3. Match pots and pans with the stove plates and ensure that they are covered.
4. Switch off the stove at least five minutes before finishing cooking the food, the retained heat will complete the heating resulting in savings.
5. Never use the stove or grill to warm the house.
6. Ensure the geyser thermostat is set at about 65 'C. Switch off the geyser when going away.
7. Reduce the amount of water in the bathtub or shower, where possible use a shower, it's quicker and will save you on water bills too.
8. Defrost food at room temperature instead of the oven.
9. Do not unnecessarily open or close the fridge door.
10. When using an electric kettle to boil water, it is advisable to boil only what is needed provided the element is covered. It is quicker and cheaper to boil water in an electric kettle than in a pot on the stove.
11. For those who can afford them, pressure cookers and microwave ovens reduce the period of cooking considerably and hence reduce the consumption of electricity.
12. Use low energy lamps. They cost more but use 80% less energy and last more than 6 times longer than ordinary filament lamps
13. Turn off lights when you leave a room. If you are going away consider buying timers to turn your lights on instead of leaving them on 24 hours a day.
14. Over 70% of the cost of washing load is in heating the water, so use cold water as often as possible.
Filtering is a major expense of owning a swimming pool. An average pool requires about 4-6 hours of filtering per day in summer and 3-4 hours in winter so do not filter more than you have to.