The PSEE can help companies manage energy supply uncertainties
09 February 2015
By Valerie Geen, Head of Energy: National Business Initiative
Recently I received a frantic call from a large company whose board was concerned about their business continuity in the face of uncertainty amidst the fluctuating challenges ofValerie Geen | PSEE electricity supply. This is no doubt a dilemma in the minds of many boards and executives. How do you plan your production processes, maintain profits, keep your employees gainfully employed, and protect your equipment and assets from damage amidst load shedding and the knowledge that the current energy challenge will take time to overcome and will require a variety of efforts to resolve?
The Private Sector Energy Efficiency (PSEE) programme is one of the interventions that can help address the question of business continuity if we all accept that reducing our energy consumption through energy conservation and energy efficiency is an important way to reduce demand on the grid. Government, Eskom, organised business and other stakeholders are considering a number of options and interventions to respond to the current threat to energy security. These options vary between short-, medium- and long-term solutions in terms of both supply and demand.
Based on our experience working with companies over a number of years, we know that big business in particular has for some time been called upon to implement load shifting and energy efficiency programmes. Our recent experience through the PSEE, where we are now also interacting with hundreds of medium and smaller companies across the country, has illustrated that there is much untapped potential to reduce energy demand. Following energy audits in close to 300 medium-size companies and scoping of work in over 25 large companies, our consultants have identified close to 900 energy saving opportunities.
The PSEE is one of the interventions that can help address the question of business continuity if we all accept that reducing our energy consumption through energy conservation and energy efficiency is an important way to reduce demand on the grid.
Not surprisingly, a number of these recommended opportunities focus on behavioural changes such as improved management of people and resources around the use of energy. These include switching off any equipment that is not being used, improvement or upscaling of maintenance programmes that can help identify and reduce inefficiencies in equipment, and process changes.
Many of the recommended opportunities also include technology changes with short pay-back periods as well as supply-side solutions. The PSEE has numerous publications on its website, www.psee.org.za, which companies can download for information and advice on what they can do to use energy more efficiently.
In the meantime, taking advantage of our free energy audits if you are a medium-size company (between R750 000 and R45 million total energy spend per annum) will empower you with more information at your fingertips in your own response to business continuity. Some of the large companies we’ve worked with over the years through the National Business Initiative’s Energy Leadership Network have implemented energy efficiency measures that have saved them billions of rands and improved their competitiveness and capability to respond with greater agility to energy security challenges. A publication summarising a number of these case studies can also be downloaded from the PSEE’s website.
Even companies who consider themselves seasoned in energy efficiency practice have discovered further opportunities to improve against the targets they have set themselves. If you have not signed up to the PSEE programme yet, you are missing an opportunity to receive free or subsidised services to help you identify how and where you are using energy and to benefit from interventions you can implement to use energy more efficiently. In so doing, you can identify the role you can play to alter your demand on the grid, save money against the rising cost of energy, and build the foundation for a more sustainable business in the long term. Find out more by visiting our website at www.psee.org.za or calling us toll-free on 080 111 3943.