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More power to you: the energy struggle just got easier


More power to you: the energy struggle just got easier

App that works out how much energy appliances use is a nifty new weapon in the battle against rising costs

Senior reporter

Home will probably no longer be a happy place for those energy guzzlers in the guise of household appliances.
Cash-strapped South African consumers have now been thrown a lifeline with the Appliance Energy Calculator app designed to combat rising energy prices.
With an Eskom price hike looming, this is seen by many as necessary as, say, a slice of bread.
The app – an appliance cost calculator – will help arm consumers with knowledge about how much energy is used by the household electrical appliances they are planning to buy. It also works out the running costs of the appliances over 10 years.
The app allows shoppers to compare different brands of tumble dryers, washing machines, fridges, freezers, microwaves, ovens, geysers, dishwashers and air conditioners, to determine their energy efficiency as well as greenhouse gas emissions.In a statement, the Energy Department, which launched the app, said it was designed to remove the highest energy-consuming appliances from the market and introduce appliances that were less energy consuming and complied with the government’s new Minimum Energy Performance Standards.
The standards are set to regulate the minimum energy performance requirements for appliances, and prescribe how much energy an appliance can use annually.
Theo Covary, project manager for the residential appliance standards and labelling programme within the Energy Department, said for decades such programmes had been proven to assist consumers globally.He said a detailed socio-economic study was done in 2011 to identify appliances that should be included in the programme and the minimum standards that needed to be set for these appliances.
“It is mandatory that each product contains a label designating its energy efficiency. This allows consumers to compare brands against each other.
“Now, with the app, consumers can go a step further and take the information contained on the label, and the price and operating costs of the appliance, feed it into the app and compare it to a similar appliance.”
Acting consumer goods ombudsman Magauta Mphahlele said the app sounded like an excellent innovation.
“The cost of living is extremely high. Coupled with that, and the fact that this app can help contribute to the protection of the environment, is to be welcomed.”
The calculator allows a consumer to work out what the total cost of the appliance will be over 10 years as well as its greenhouse gas emissions.
“This app ultimately allows consumers to make informed financial decisions.”Covary said that where the app was especially helpful was when it came to washing machines and tumble dryers. “It allows one to make comparisons per wash and dry cycles.”
He said the app was specifically designed with the rising costs of energy in mind, and took into account low-income households and cost-saving measures people could implement.
“It is to try and get people to become more aware of their energy use.”
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said: “Access to electricity for all South Africans remains a core objective of government and so is the efficient and effective use of this resource.
“Because we cannot always control how citizens choose to use their electricity, it was imperative for us to implement measures that ensure that appliances sold in South Africa are regulated and energy efficient. We equally introduced instruments that assist consumers to make the right choices when purchasing appliances.”
• The Appliance Energy Calculator app can be downloaded free from the Google Playstore and Apple iStore.

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