Most South African businesses face significant challenges in ensuring energy security for their operations in the face of ongoing load-shedding. Too often they simply invest in back-up power or alternative energy solutions without first knowing exactly how much energy they use and how to optimise that energy usage.
On top of that, up to 60% of all energy bills received by local businesses are incorrect, and 43% of all energy sold is wasted, says John Considine, a Business Development Executive at managed business services provider Itec.
“The first step to sustainable power management is to measure and monitor the energy usage of your operations in fine detail. How much energy do you use every hour? What’s contributing to your power usage? How much power does every asset in your operation use? Once you understand this better, you can ensure your business has uninterrupted power for always-on operations, while dramatically reducing energy costs in the process,” said Considine.
Itec recently launched an energy offering, Itec Energy, that is already helping local businesses save money, ensure energy security for their operations, and accelerate their journey to becoming sustainable green businesses. One client in the textiles industry has nearly halved its monthly energy bills, while gaining key insights into which areas of the business are the most power-hungry, and the least profitable.
Considine says one Gauteng-based food processing business currently spends nearly R1 million a month to keep its diesel generators running through loadshedding, over and above an existing power bill of over R5 million a month. He says the business will be able to ‘significantly’ reduce its energy usage – and spend – through process and plant optimisation, and effective energy monitoring and management.
“We often read about big companies that spend millions on impressive solar solutions. But they don’t know how well it’s working, how much money it saves them each month, or even if it works during loadshedding. That’s why it’s critical to first get total transparency into your operations and integrate a range of energy-saving measures into your buildings, hardware, and processes, before you start splashing out on short-term solutions,” said Considine.
Apart from ensuring energy security, the other looming challenge for businesses is how to start transforming their operations to meet a net-zero target by 2050. Listed companies are already obliged to report on their progress in reducing their carbon footprint, and this can only be achieved by having a clear view of the carbon footprint of each asset in the business.
“There are huge business benefits to transforming your energy usage and measurement. Once you can manage and measure every asset in your operation, you can start making smarter business decisions around how you use your plant. And because you’re proactively monitoring assets, your facility is always operating at an optimum level, with lower maintenance costs and greater uptime,” said Considine.