A Pretoria man says he has found the answer to Eskom's electricity shortage - a timer switch.
Now Carl Muller is not only saving electricity but also on the amount he spends on his bill each month.
After suffering the inconvenience of constant blackouts last year, Muller, who lives in a four-bedroom house with two geysers and a swimming pool, decided to put his geysers and the swimming pool motor onto timer switches.
It was a simple, inexpensive thing to do but he continues to reap the benefits.
"My electricity bill went down nearly 50 percent. So did my electricity usage," he says.
According to Muller, in November 2006 he was using 2442MW of electricity at a cost of just over R1 000 a month.
After he installed the timer switch, his bill in November last year reflects a dramatic drop in consumption - 1 050MW, at a cost of R456.
In recent weeks, households and businesses around the country have been plunged into darkness following Eskom's rolling blackouts. And the forecast for this week is that the blackouts will continue.
As a result, the parastatal has been urging South Africans to cut back on their consumption.
For Muller the solution is simple and could save thousands of kilowatts of power being used in residential areas.
"The timers only switch on for one-and-a-half hours in the middle of the night and again in the middle of the day. That is outside of Eskom's peak hours. My electricity bill went down nearly 50 percent. So did my electricity usage.
"My savings are on average R500 per month.
"Imagine what would happen to our load shedding if 2-million households do this. Imagine what would happen if all the geysers in our country were put on timers like this. Eskom would have huge savings on power," Muller notes.
The timers, which are available from any hardware or building supplies stores, cost around R220.
They should be installed by electricians, who charge between R350 and R400, and it doesn't take long.
This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on January 22, 2008