Helping hand to cut down on electricity costs

Gareth Burley
Gareth Burley

DESPERATE to reduce electricity costs, companies in the Eastern Cape are looking for more innovative ways to cut their carbon footprint, with a UK sponsored assessment programme helping several firms to determine where to minimise power usage.

The Private Sector Energy Efficiency (PSEE) project offers assessment aimed at reducing companies’ reliance on the country’s strained electricity grid.

Gareth Burley from Green Leaf Sustainability Services, who focuses on assisting the Eastern Cape’s large corporates in reducing their carbon footprint, encouraged companies to sign up for the programme.

“The savings are huge – one Port Elizabeth company has halved its electricity bill while another in East London stands to save between R40 000 and R50 000 per month if they implement certain energy-saving measures.”

The PSEE audits look at a range of energy-saving measures to reduce companies’ CO2 emissions, and while it is free to mid-sized companies, large companies with an annual energy spend of at least R45-million would be expected to contribute at least 40% of the total cost of services provided.

Another Eastern Cape company, Rhino Lighting, has helped mid-sized companies get involved with the PSEE project, which is sponsored by the UK’s Department for International Development.

The company started doing audits in Nelson Mandela Bay in October last year and have a total of 16 clients signed up to reduce their carbon footprint.

Rhino Lighting managing director Heather McEwan said these businesses included some Spar franchises, the BKB head office, Times Media Eastern Cape – the owners of The Herald and Weekend Post – and Grey High School.

“Companies which spend between R750 000 and R45-million per annum on energy are eligible for up to four fully funded days of direct onsite support,” McEwan said.

This included energy assessments, identification of energy efficiency opportunities, and follow-up support, she said.

Rhino Lighting and other auditors are compensated by the UK government and therefore the assessments are free of charge to these mid-sized companies and organisations.

Once they have received their audit reports, the companies and organisations can implement the solutions or interventions in reducing their carbon footprint through whatever service provider they choose.

The PSEE project has been running since December 2013 and will come to an end in November this year.

-Cindy Preller

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