Eskom recently initiated a pilot program in Fourways to remotely manage household electricity consumption through smart meters, with plans to expand the initiative nationwide. The move was discussed during Eskom’s recent State of the System briefing, where strategies to reduce load-shedding were outlined.
Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa took this opportunity to make it clear that the government’s goal is to curb energy consumption by encouraging households to turn off geysers when not in use, particularly during peak periods (given the fact that electric geysers account for half of household energy usage).
This comes after a recent survey was able to confirm that we don’t have to switch our geysers off to secure significant energy savings in South Africa. By simply lowering the set-point temperature of our geysers using smart geyser devices, we could save up to 1,000 MWh without any of the compromise associated with switching the geyser off.
Government stakeholders should therefore incentivise smart product choices, as opposed to limiting access to hot water in our homes. The insurance industry in South Africa already replaces over 10,000 burst geysers every month – adding a smart geyser device to this process only incurs a marginal fee, making the transition to transformative water heating technology well within our reach.
This critical undertaking could offer national government a remarkable opportunity to significantly reduce the load on our power grid by empowering citizens and businesses with the smart technology they need to reduce and manage the set-point temperature of their geysers for many years to come.
Leverage smart geyser devices to maximise energy efficiency & lower risk
It is clear that our government, and insurance companies, have a golden opportunity to address two important problems here. By championing the installation of smart geyser devices on all new electric geysers, national government could significantly reduce the load on our power grid.
The same technology can be used by insurers to reduce the risk of damage and costly insurance claims when geysers do burst. A smart geyser device can automatically turn off the element or shut the geyser’s water supply in the case of a blown element or water-detection. This clever feature can significantly limit the amount of damage caused to people’s businesses and homes as a result of geyser failure.
Real-time monitoring: reducing risk with early detection and proactive prevention
With smart geyser devices we can maximise our energy efficiency, lower our rate of consumption and help reduce the risk of damage and costly insurance claims. This is all made possible by the fact that the devices are equipped with sophisticated sensors and real-time data collection capabilities, presenting a quantum leap in water heating technology in South Africa.
This means that smart geyser devices can also lower the risk profile of insured properties. By optimising energy consumption during the heating process with real-time monitoring capabilities, smart geyser devices can also reduce the potential for electrical fires, property damage, and health hazards when a geyser does burst.
With real-time monitoring, insurers can leverage this smart technology to gain invaluable insights into the condition and performance of insured properties as well. Smart geyser devices provide data for more accurate risk assessments and proactive measures to prevent potential claims. For instance, insurers can receive alerts for abnormal usage patterns, indicative of possible leaks or malfunctions.
Armed with this information, insurers can intervene quickly before significant damage occurs, reducing claim payouts and safeguarding policyholders’ assets. Recognising these benefits, some insurers are already incentivising the installation of smart geyser devices countrywide.
Incentivising adoption with premium discounts & tailored insurance packages
To accelerate the adoption of smart geyser technology, some insurers are doing their best to incentivise policyholders by offering premium discounts or tailored insurance packages. This approach not only promotes risk reduction but also encourages responsible homeownership. This symbiotic relationship aligns the interests of insurers and policyholders, fostering a more resilient insurance landscape in South Africa.
Nedbank’s launch of zero-excess smart geyser insurance represents a significant step in streamlining protection for homeowners. This policy eliminates the excess fees typically associated with insurance claims, ensuring that homeowners can enjoy full coverage without any additional financial burden when filing a claim for their smart geyser system. This not only enhances the affordability of insurance but also reduces the financial risks associated with adopting this innovative technology.
Over the last two years, the use of smart geyser devices has seen a 90% reduction in consequential water-damage claims for Nedbank Insurance policyholders. The same clients are enjoying, on average, a 30% reduction in their household geyser energy usage, simply by having a Nedbank smart-geyser device installed.
The results clearly speak for themselves.
A smart choice to improve energy efficiency & lower risk
Smart geyser technology has the potential to maximise energy efficiency in our country, while offering a transformative approach to risk reduction for insurers and home-owners alike. These clever devices can offer immense value to South Africans, with the opportunity to decrease the cost of their insurance claims, while fostering a more sustainable energy future.
By promoting energy efficiency through the widespread adoption of smart geyser devices, we can alleviate a significant degree of strain on our national power grid, while empowering the average homeowner with the technology they need to take control of their energy consumption.
It’s a smart choice that benefits everyone. In the face of load shedding and its associated risks, smart geyser technology stands as a beacon of hope, heralding a brighter and more resilient future for South Africa’s energy landscape.
This article originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of Cover magazine: https://www.cover.co.za/news/maximise-energy-efficiency-in-sa-reduce-risk-of-costly-insurance-claims-with-smart-technology
For more information about Sensor Networks, and its smart-geyser solution that benefits insurance companies and homeowners, contact us here.