Living off the grid: What I miss about Eskom power


By Marien Dreckmyr

I was once asked when interviewed about “Living off the grid” what I miss most about power and my swift reply was that I miss the freedom to abuse power. After the interview my answer kept on nagging at me and I tried to work out why I gave that specific answer. It was then that I realized the truth in my thinking as being a person living off the grid for the past 7 years has taught me to think twice before using heating appliances such as microwaves, toasters, hairdriers or leaving on lights unnecessary but when I go down to my holiday house at the coast that runs on Eskom power I tend not to blink an eye before using all these electrical appliances. That made me realize that most South-Africans do not have a culture towards saving electricity and that this is the real start to really assists towards the electricity crisis in South Africa.  All South-Africans, whether we are working in the public, commercial sector or not working, living in a shack using normal 60W globes or in a mansion running pool pumps longer than necessary etc. should stand together to make a difference.

Here are some simple ways to  make a difference:

    • Buy energy-efficient light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use 80% less electricity than ordinary light bulbs and last up to 8 times longer.
    • Use low energy lamps and energy-efficient spotlights for exterior lighting.
    • Buy energy-efficient appliances or gas appliances.
    • Physically turn off appliance switches or at the wall (e.g. a TV or Hi-Fi), instead of leaving them on stand-by (they still use electricity otherwise).
    • Make one-pot meals and keep lids on pots. Use pressure cookers as it cooks food in a third of the time.
    • Bring foods to the boil quickly on the “high” setting, then turn the heat down to “simmer” to finish cooking.
    • Keep the oven door completely closed until food is cooked (use the oven light to check food instead). Every time the door is opened, the oven temperature drops, and the heat must be replaced.
    • Cold water short wash cycles and rinse-only cycles on dishwashers and washing machines are designed for energy and water conservation.
    • Fill the kettle, boil once and store the boiled water in a flask for later cuppa.
    • Empty, switch off and clean your fridge before going on a long holiday.
    • Defrost food in the fridge instead of the microwave oven as it is more economical.