Southern Africa saved 4,561 MW of power due to demand-side management programmes between 2009 and 2013, according to data released at the SADC heads of state summit held last month in Zimbabwe.

The majority of the savings, totalling about 3,461 MW, were made by changing incandescent light bulbs to compact florescent lamps (CFLs).

CFLs is one of four initiatives introduced by the Southern African Power Pool as part of a demand-side management programme.

The commercial lighting programme has contributed savings of 700 MW since 2009, while hot water load control and solar water heaters have also had an impact on reducing residential energy user, according to the data.

As most of the power used by residential households is on water heaters, the HWLC programme allows consumers to install load control switches that automatically turn off power during peak periods or when appliances such as geysers have reached its maximum demand.

South Africa’s Eskom and Botswana Power Corporation have reported savings of 130 MW and 40 MW, respectively, from the HWLC programme.

Using tariffs to cut demand

SADC’s demand-side management programme has plans for a public education campaign  and is also considering use of cost-reflective tariffs, time of use tariffs, renewable energy feed-in tariffs as well as an introduction of penalties for inefficient use of energy by customers.

SADC predicts that the region can save more than 6,000 MW by 2018 if such initiatives are implemented according to plan.