So what is your business doing? As Eskom applies for a 20% electrical tariff increase.

Eskom is under pressure it needs to increase its revenues and there are reports of an application for a 20% tariff increase to the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa). What does this mean to regular businesses and how do we you go about actively managing and planning to mitigate this risks.

Our suggestion is the establishment of an effective energy management practices and processes that are championed by senior management and reported on in financially, environmental and publicity as part of the companies KPI’s.

Organisations seeing the financial returns from superior energy management continuously strive to improve their energy performance. Their success is based on regularly assessing energy performance and implementing steps to increase energy efficiency.

Any organisation regardless of size, function or mission can develop an effective energy program if they are willing to make the commitment. There are a number of great guidelines that have been developed by government bodies and NGO’s from which it is possible to develop the practices and process for your organisation to better manage energy. The principals are the same and can be applied to a school or a blue chip company….


I have found the 43-page ENERGY STAR Guidelines for Energy Management as a great template as it contains a step-by-step roadmap for continuous improvement, based on recognised best practices. Out of the Box Energy Solutions recognises that for any business to make the investment in a renewable decentralised power plant they need to have an adequate business case. This business case needs to demonstrate that they are effectively managing their energy consumption ahead of looking at possible production. Therefore over the coming months, we will be working with Key Clients to develop practical guidelines for specific industries. However, the core steps and principals do not change.

With some motivation and the correct resources, all organisations would be able to customise this process to suit their size of business and energy aspirations

Out of the Box Energy Solutions are able to assist organisations throughout the process, however, it is key that Energy management is owned by all within the company and that Energy Out of the Box Solutions is used as a consultant to support in the delivery of the company initiative.

Step1:Form a Dedicated Team with a commitment from the top:

Form a Dedicated Team with a commitment from the top:

  1. Appoint an Energy Director — Sets goals, tracks progress, and promotes the energy management program and reports directly to the companies senior management.
  2. Establish an Energy Team — Executes energy management activities across different parts of the organisation and ensures integration of best practices. Institute an Energy Policy
  3. Institute an Energy Policy — Provides the foundation for setting performance goals and integrating energy management

An Energy Policy provides the foundation for successful energy management. It formalises senior management’s support and articulates the organisation’s commitment to energy efficiency for employees, shareholders, the community and other stakeholders. Based on our experience, successful organisations have energy policies that:

Step 2.

Assess Performance:

Understanding current and past energy use is how many organisations identify opportunities to improve energy performance and gain financial benefits. Assessing performance is the periodic process of evaluating energy use for all major facilities and functions in the organisation and establishing a baseline for measuring future results of efficiency efforts.

2.1: Gather and Track Data Evaluating energy performance requires good information on how, when, and where energy is being used. Collecting and tracking this information is necessary for establishing baselines and managing energy use.

2.2: Establish Baselines Measuring energy performance at a specific time establishes a baseline and provides the starting point for setting goals and evaluating future efforts and overall performance.

2.3: Analyse Data Analysing data to determine energy use trends can help an organisation gain a better understanding of the factors that affect energy performance and identify steps for reducing energy consumption. There are a variety of ways data can be analysed depending upon the needs of the organisation.

From this analysis, a priority list should be established allowing for a targeted and methodical working sequence capturing those sites that offering the largest economic and environmental savings first. 

2.4: Conduct Technical Assessments & Audits Knowing your organisation’s baseline energy use and the relative performance of your entire portfolio is only part of the information needed. Periodic assessment of the performance of equipment, processes, and systems will help you identify opportunities for improvement. Energy audits are comprehensive reviews conducted by energy professionals and/or engineers that evaluate the actual performance of a facility’s systems and equipment against their designed performance level or against best available technology. The difference between these is the potential for energy savings and decentralised power generations.

Step 3:

Set Goals:

Once the potential for improvement has been estimated, goals can be established at the appropriate organisational levels. Energy performance goals should be formally established and recognised by senior management as a mission for the whole organisation. Estimating potential for improvement should provide you with a starting point for what is possible. However, some organisations set their final energy performance goals based on organisational factors other than what is technically feasible. Such factors will affect how energy performance goals are expressed.

Step 4:

Create Action Plan:

With goals in place, your organisation is now poised to develop a roadmap to improve energy performance. Successful organisations use a detailed action plan to ensure a systematic process to implement energy performance measures. Unlike the energy policy, the action plan is regularly updated, most often on an annual basis, to reflect recent achievements, changes in performance, and shifting priorities. While the scope and scale of the action plan are often dependent on the organisation, the steps below outline a basic starting point for creating a plan.

4.1: Define Technical Steps and Targets Define Technical Steps

4.2: Determine Roles and Resources Determine Roles Identify internal roles Determine who should be involved and what their responsibilities will be

Step 5:

Implement Action Plan

People can make or break an energy program. Gaining the support and cooperation of key people at different levels within the organisation is an important factor for successful action plan implementation in many organisations. In addition, reaching your goals frequently depends on the awareness, commitment, and capability of the people who will implement the projects.

5.1: Create a Communication Plan Good communication does not just happen. It requires careful planning and implementation. To communicate strategically, you will need to identify key audiences, determine the information that they need, and adapt your messages appropriately for each one.

5.2: Raise Awareness Everyone has a role in energy management. Effective programs make employees, managers, and other key stakeholders aware of energy performance goals and initiatives, as well as their responsibility in carrying out the program.

5.3: Build Capacity Investing in training and systems to share successful practices helps ensure the success of the action plan by building the overall organisational capacity. Many organisations have found that informed employees are more likely to contribute ideas, operate equipment properly, and follow procedures, helping to guarantee that capital investments in energy improvements will realise their potential.

STEP 5.4: Motivate Offering incentives for energy management is one way many organisations create interest in energy initiatives and foster a sense of ownership among employees.

STEP 5.5: Track & Monitor A tracking system is the means by which an energy program’s activities are monitored. The system should be centralised and available for all to use in gauging progress toward established targets, milestones, and deadlines. Maintaining a tracking system enables you to assess necessary steps, corrective actions, and identify successes. Periodic review of the activities outlined in the action plan is critical to meet energy performance goals.

Step 6

Evaluate Progress

Evaluating progress includes a formal review of both energy use data and the activities carried out as part of the action plan as compared to your performance goals. Evaluation results and information gathered during the formal review process is used by many organisations to create new action plans, identify best practices, and set new performance goals.

6.1: Measure Results Gather energy use data and compare results to goals to determine accomplishments.

6.2: Review Action Plan After reviewing performance data, the next steps are to understand the factors affecting the results as well as the additional benefits of the improved energy performance.


Recognize Achievements

Providing and seeking recognition for energy management achievements is a proven step for sustaining momentum and support for your program. Providing recognition to those who helped the organisation achieve these results motivates staff and employees and brings positive exposure to the energy management program. Receiving recognition from outside sources validates the importance of the energy management program to both internal and external stakeholders, and provides positive exposure for the organisation as a whole.

7.1: Providing Internal Recognition Recognising the accomplishments of individuals and teams is key to sustaining support and momentum for energy management initiatives. Rewarding particular efforts set the example for what constitutes success and helps motivate employees through increased job satisfaction. Recognition can strengthen the morale of everyone involved in energy management.

7.2: Receiving External Recognition Good work deserves to be acknowledged. Recognition from a third party can provide validation for an organisation’s energy management program. Not only does it provide satisfaction to those involved in earning the recognition, but it can also enhance an organisation’s public image. A solid reputation contributes to your competitive advantage by making your organisation more attractive to customers, students, current and potential employees, lenders, business partners and other stakeholders.

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