Incentives to save energy in homes useful in energy crisis
THE PUBLIC outcry at Eskom’s proposed additional large-scale increases in the electricity price means these are likely to be toned down by the National Energy Regulator, but it’s already clear from market feedback that energy efficient residential properties are increasingly in demand.
Colleen Gray, MD of Century21 South Africa, says adequate provision for emergency back-up power and uninterruptible power supply will give properties an edge, particularly if the small office home office trend gathers renewed momentum.
“We have had a relatively stable power supply for some time now, helped by the economic slowdown which has reduced demand and increased Eskom’s reserves,” says Gray.
“As the economy gathers steam again, power demand will naturally increase and we are still a long way from seeing the first of the new mega power stations come into operation. Power supplies could become more erratic and I would expect to see demand for energy-independent properties growing.
“And in this scenario it would surely make sense to provide incentives for low-energy homes. In the UK there are tax allowances for energy saving devices and improve- ments and every house sold has to be rated for its energy efficiency and is priced accordingly,” says Gray.
“There is no indication yet of similar moves by the SA government on this issue – other than threats to impose premiums on overusage. To its credit, though, Eskom has taken the initiative by subsidising the installation of solar geysers.
“We also hear that Eskom has identified 200 energy-saving specialist companies countrywide for cooperation with its demand-side management division in prioritising energy audits for non-residential property-owners. It’s time we saw something similar for residential property.
“In fact, what is called for is a national strategy rather than the ad hoc attempts by disparate role players to save energy in homes. Government’s National Energy White Paper, due shortly, may point the way, but meanwhile the widespread belief will persist that huge electricity price increases could be avoided if more energy-saving incentives for property owners could be introduced,” says Gray.
ENERGY EFFICIENT: Colleen Gray of Century21 South Africa.