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EWN Investigates: Who's saving electricity?

EWN has checked whether business & parastatals are heeding to Eskom’s call to save energy.

Telkom's offices in Pretoria had all of its lights on despite Eskom pleading for companies to conserve energy. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN

PRETORIA - While Eskom has appealed for all South African consumers to conserve electricity, Eyewitness News has checked whether government, parastatals and corporates are heeding the call.

While several government buildings in Pretoria had as many as a third of their lights burning, Telkom's two towers has the most lights on. Just after 8pm, Telkom's towers in the Pretoria inner city had just about every light switched on, on each of its 26 floors.

Telkom's Ian Russell says this is not according to the company's policy.

"It's been a really useful wake-up call and we will definitely try to take some steps to improve what we can do in that building in the short-term."

He says the company takes electricity conservation seriously.

"Telkom has invested over R150 million in energy saving initiatives in the last two years."

Russell says Telkom is moving out of these buildings in April, and will be located in a more modern, energy-efficient premises in Centurion.

WATCH: Who's leaving the lights on?

Eyewitness News also took checked on building in Johannesburg, where there was a slightly more positive outlook with various parastatals appearing to be heeding Eskom's calls for reduced energy use.

While some buildings had most of their lights switched on, they seem to have systems in place to reduce dependence on the grid.

Over the two nights EWN were on the streets, Standard Bank's headquarters in Rosebank were brightly lit and illuminated with neon staircases.

However, as a representative of the bank explains, the building is energy efficient and non-reliant on Eskom's power supply after hours.

"From about 8pm in the evening until about 5am in the morning, in general, we're totally reliant on our gas plant."

At the same time, Transnet's offices in Braamfontein appeared strangely illuminated, with multiple floors brightly lit while other levels were in complete darkness.

While unable to comment on the specific Braamfontein offices, Transnet's Sandile Simelane says the parastatal has introduced motion detector lighting systems to many of its buildings.

"They sense physical movement. So if there's no physical presence, there then it automatically switches off after a while."

Both the ANC's Luthuli House and the Gauteng Legislature were brightly lit up at night.

Despite attempts to obtain explanations from the legislature Luthuli House, no one has been able to explain why the buildings were lit in the face of Eskom's calls for reduced consumption.

Editor's note: After 10pm Primedia Broadcasting Johannesburg only keeps lights on on three floors on which broadcasting staff are working. In Cape Town, the building's lights go off automatically at 10pm, while the airconditioning system switches off at 6pm.

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