As South African companies feel the dual bites of recession and hugely increased electricity tariffs, they are looking for ways that they can better manage – and reduce – their operational costs. And now there's an incentive to not only save on their direct costs, but gain rewards for thrifty energy use through tax rebates.

To help them mitigate the cost increases, and their bottom lines, companies are looking to strategic energy partnerships to help them develop sound energy management strategies.
“The recession continues, we still have a national energy shortage intensifies, there is mounting pressure on public resources and energy costs in South Africa are going to increase significantly," says Gustav Radloff, MD of Energy Cybernetics. "Against these realities companies need to find ways of saving on operational cost.
"Managing energy more efficiently is not only the right thing to do in the current national (and global) energy context, but it can also bring significant operational savings for corporate and industrial energy users."
The tax rebates introduced in February by the former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel marked a significant shift in how companies should manage their energy expenditure as a key operational cost. The tax rebates on certified energy efficiency saving were proposed as an incentive not only to reward not only those companies that comply but recognising that energy generation in South Africa is running out.
“The education of all energy users is very important and highlights the responsibility that lies with stakeholders in the value chain to maintain a sustainable model of preserving energy," comments says Prof LJ Grobler, director of Energy Cybernetics, NHW scholar and recognised South African authority on energy efficiency in all user sectors.
"The challenge is also to ensure that large users understand the need to manage their operational procedures and costs efficiently in the bid to achieve greater energy efficiency."
Radloff adds: “As far as energy is concerned we have entered into a new reality – cheap electricity is something of the past. There is a real and mounting pressure on companies to demonstrate their commitment towards reducing their environmental impact.
"More transparent and consistent reporting (for example the Global Reporting Initiative or GRI), combined with the imminent launch of the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems Standard, means that energy management is becoming a strategic business imperative rather than a nice to have."
Energy Cybernetics offers a tailored service to southern African businesses, providing energy optimisation services through ongoing strategic energy partnerships.
“The benefits of saving energy far outweigh the disadvantages for both companies and individuals in the long run," Radloff says. "Energy saving will also move South Africa closer towards the reduction of global warming, preserving our natural resources and helping the environment."