Fin24

Cash-strapped consumers turn off heaters

2011-06-02 11:40

Johannesburg - Fewer South Africans heated up their homes last year compared to 2009, probably because of a spike in electricity prices, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Thursday.

Researcher Catherine Schulze said the number of households using electricity for heating dropped from 50.7% in 2009 to 45.6% in 2010, according to the SA Development Index for 2011.

Schulze said this was probably because of an increase in electricity prices. South Africans would rather use their electricity for lighting and cooking.

"So, heating... apparently there's no money for it which is why it's so low," said Schulze.

SAIRR research manager Lucy Holborn said another factor was a rise in the number of households.

"Demand for services is exceeding supply," said Holborn.

The SAIRR released the second update for 2011 of the SA Development Index. South Africans were hit by a 31% hike in electricity prices in 2009/2010 and a further 24.8% increase for 2010/2011.

 

Comments
  • Smaal - 2011-06-02 11:58

    Wouldn’t say cash strapped but nothing wrong with burning wood for some heat and it is a little more romantic and it is free.

      Gorilla - 2011-06-02 12:01

      Free? Where do you get your wood?

      Lindetjie - 2011-06-02 12:05

      Free wood ... quick tell me where I can get some or must I chop down the trees in my garden?

  • Gary - 2011-06-02 12:01

    a tonne of wood out back in the garden and a nicely sealed off lounge with a fireplace for winter..........bring it on.

  • Shistirrer - 2011-06-02 12:06

    Bull. People have just switched to gas heating instead of electric heating (and yes, it's because of the price), but they are not cutting down on heating per se. Evidence of this is the sudden shortage of gas now that the cold weather has started setting in.

  • Icepick - 2011-06-02 12:48

    Now now people - let's play nicely...

  • Viv - 2011-06-02 15:00

    I know that my household has changed to gas. It costs between R165 - 187 to fill a 9kg bottle which lasts about 4 - 6 weeks. Would rather be using the gas that the electric. Plus when the bloody power goes out at least I can stay warm in the dark!

  • horsehair - 2011-06-02 16:23

    I don't see how you can tell what people are using electricity for. I know there is usually a spike in the number of baths taken in Winter to warm up instead of more showers in summer. Also more heat pumps and solar geysers no than in 2009... The electricity prices are increasing for another 3 years so look to alternative energy people, heat pumps, outside LED's or induction and a few solar panels to power certain things. An investment now of a few thousand will pay itself back before the increases stop

  • Horst - 2011-06-02 16:48

    No point saving electricity unless you can do without the stuff completely. Explanation: using less electricity negatively affects Escom's cash flow, they than in turn have to increase prices to make up the shortfall.

      Claire - 2011-06-09 17:00

      That really isn't the way it works. Eskom don't increase prices to keep profits up - prices are regulated and hotely contested, and not at Eskom's discretion or whim. Prices are going up because we use more electricity year on year and in order to accommodate that, Eskom has to build more power stations - hence the price increases. Simple economics!

  • horsehair - 2011-06-02 17:20

    I don't see how you can tell what people are using electricity for. I know there is usually a spike in the number of baths taken in Winter to warm up instead of more showers in summer. Also more heat pumps and solar geysers no than in 2009... The electricity prices are increasing for another 3 years so look to alternative energy people, heat pumps, outside LED's or induction and a few solar panels to power certain things. An investment now of a few thousand will pay itself back before the increases stop

  • ecoecho - 2011-06-02 18:51

    Well, I definitely am cash strapped and I am selling even my new gas fire and cylinder as I cannot afford to use it. I have been wearing several layers of clothing in the winter for the last three winters. I cannot even afford to have my geyser on more than once a week, and I have got my actual elec wattage consumption down so low that now the bulk of what my bill is consists of the long list of service fees that Eskom have on their bills to confuse one, and VAT. I do not think that things like electricity and water etc should incur VAT to be honest.

      Fred - 2011-06-03 07:23

      Agreed, it is a service and is part of our "basic human rights". But of course it does generate more gravy for the train!

  • Claire - 2011-06-09 16:56

    Also, given the huge drive for consumers to save electricity, couldn't it just energy efficiency on the behalf of consumers? I doubt its about the cost of power and think electricity conservation is the key. People are afraid of a repeat of 2008 and night in the dark!

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