As the country continues to plunge into darkness due to loadshedding and the cost of electricity is increasing, an Eastern Cape-based circular business is manufacturing an energy-efficient product to help consumers save money.
By: Nonhlanhla Ntuli
Eskom recently announced the implementation of stage six loadshedding and the National Energy Regulator of SA approved an 18.65% tariff hike by Eskom for the 2023/24 financial year. This as government has pleaded with consumers to reduce their electricity consumption.
According to the EskomSePush app, the struggling power utility implemented 3 776 hours or 157 days of loadshedding in 2022 and so far in 2023 the country has faced rolling black out every day.
South Africa’s electricity crisis inspired a company called AET Africa to find a solution to help consumers decrease their electricity bill. “Our energy saving product is reusable, affordable and environmentally sustainable,” said Buhlebomzi Ndukwana the Corporate Sales and Marketing Executive at AET Africa.
Energy-efficient solution for water heating
To save electricity, many households switch their geyser off and only switch it on just before using hot water. AET Africa manufactures a product called Hotspot Geyser; it can be used to heat up water within 30 minutes, reducing the amount of the time the geyser is switched on.
It is a flexible glove-like device that is retrofitted over the geyser element and can be installed to reduce energy consumption on any conventional geyser. Users of the product have reported a 27% saving on their electricity bill. “The device’s purpose is to improve the energy efficiency of geysers by reducing energy consumption and allowing users to heat water when needed,” said Ndukwana
South Africa’s s energy challenges call for reduced usage of electricity and the hotspot geyser sleeve allows users to drastically reduce the energy consumption of their geysers, which contributes to reducing pressure on the grid. “We are in negotiations with distributors in West Africa and SADC, as we believe our product can help people reduce their electricity bill,” said Ndukwana
Circular business model
A circular business like this is important for the growth of South Africa’s circular economy because it uses clean technology to create cost saving energy-efficient products. “The hotspot geyser is an innovative product that is sustainable and does not harm the environment,” said Ndukwana.
AET Africa currently manufactures 10 000 units of the geyser hotspot and supplies it to households, corporate clients, and retailers. By manufacturing this product in Dimbaza, Eastern Cape, the business is creating jobs and improving the local economy.
AET Africa boasts an 11-strong team of permanent employees across 5 divisions as well as 13 interns and 12 operational staff.
The small business also manufactures reusable bags that are convenient and reduce pollution. This as government has tightened legislation on the use of single-use plastic shopper bags. The business has a production capacity of 40 000+ stitched reusable bags.
They employ women and youth from the township and surrounding villages to resuscitate the dying textile industry and to provide decent jobs to the community.
South Africa needs more social entrepreneurs that not only contribute towards growing the economy but also offer sustainable and environmentally conscious solutions that many people can benefit from.