Why does my electricity usage escalate during winter?

Have you received your electricity account and wondered how on earth it is possible that I have consumed so much electricity?

Did you know even if you are not using a heater during the colder months' it is still extremely easy for your electricity to soar?

  • During winter our geysers work harder to stay warm, even with the required insulation.  The water going into the geyser is colder and the heat gets lost much quicker.  In summer the average temperature of water flowing into your geyser is 16oC while the temperate can drop to around 6oC in winter.  Furthermore, there is more loss of heat when the warm water is transported to the tap, than in summer. 

  • Believe it or not but we do use our stoves and ovens for longer periods. The colder the temperatures, the more likely it is for your appetite to grow. Statistics show that apart from eating more during winter, we tend to eat foods that take longer to prepare. Soups, stews, curries, and all those foods that give us the adrenaline to cope with the colder months, take dramatically longer to cook than a chicken salad or a quick stir fry.

  • How's your water intake during winter? The average person tends to drink less water and more coffee and tea during winter. Do you fill your kettle with exactly 250 ml of water for each cup when you prepare your coffee? Most people don't. Most kettles' minimum water level exceeds the 250 ml mark.

  • There is no better way to relax than to take a long hot bath while reading your favorite book or magazine. A nice warm shower can do the trick just as well (without reading the book of course).  Unfortunately, that bath and shower come with a price tag.  

  • During winter, the sun sets earlier and rises later than usual. The average person prefers not to stay in the dark. This is evident from the chaos that erupts when we have yet another power outage. As a result, we use our lights for longer than what we normally do in summer.

  • Speaking of summer, we do tend to be outdoors more often during spring and summer. While we are couped up at home, a little bit of TV, radio or even sitting behind a computer, does have an effect on your power usage.

  • There is no doubt that Covid-19 has had a major impact on the amount of electricity used.  If you are not spending more time at home than usual, you are most probably breaking the law.  I have most definitely increased my coffee and tea consumption and that excludes the stews, puddings, and homemade rusks.  I have a suspicion that I am not alone in that department.  A quick Google search on the correlation between Lockdown and weight gain confirms this phenomenon.

     We are also required to wash our hands as regularly as possible.  Most people prefer warm water on their hands as opposed to icy cold water.  Every time you open the warm water tap, your geyser's element gets activated.  

  • Are you spending all your time at work and still can't understand why your electricity usage is so high?  Remember that your fridge/freezers work 24/7, geysers generally stay on and you most probably have a couple of appliances that are running on sleep mode.

Some helpful hints to remember:

Most municipal tariffs escalate on 1 July each year. Compare the units and not the final price. By law tariffs charged must be 100% the same as prescribed by the local municipality.  Rosslee uses metered electricity as opposed to pre-paid meters due to the fact that you require a 3rd party organisation to manage pre-paid meters on bulk supply.  These 3rd party organisations charge additional fees on top of the standard tariff.

Click on the links below for the current electricity tariffs:

Compare apples with apples. 
Do not compare your units used with the previous months, but rather with the same month from last year.  Compare for example August 2020 with August 2019.  People tend to use the same amount of units depending on which month of the year it is.  If you are a Rosslee tenant, you have 24/7 access to your entire account.  Use this facility to go back in history.

Remember:  Electricity graphs show year-on-year a progressive increase in electricity usage from March onwards, reaching a peak in August, after which the electricity consumption starts to decline again.

Take the units used and divide it with the days of the month. Once you have your average amount of units used, it is easier to see where your units have been used. Use our electricity calculator for guidance on how much electricity your appliances consume. Your fridge, for example, can use approximately 6 units of electricity per day. (Check out our 'Be Fridge Savvy' blog for more details on how much electricity your fridge use.)  If you have a 150l geyser, one hour of usage will lead to 3 kWh units used.  

What about all the power interruptions? Surely I will use less electricity if the power was off for a day or two?

Remember that while your power was down you were not able to cook, wash clothes, vacuum, or do anything else that you wanted to do. These are all tasks that still need to be done. The utilisation of power is thus only delayed until such time as when the power comes back on. 

No-one likes a spike in electricity costs and definitely not at a time when a lot of people are battling financially.  Unfortunately, the enormous privilege to have electricity available does come at a price, especially during the winter months.

The light in the tunnel is that Spring is almost here and warmer weather will hopefully equate to less electricity used.

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