A high electricity bill at the end of the month can have a severe impact on the ability of families to meet their obligations.

According to Eskom, a geyser can contribute up to 40% to your electricity bill. But there is good news. A clever device developed by a young woman from the Eastern Cape can be the answer for families feeling the pinch when it comes to their electricity bills.

Called the Hot Spot, the device pushes hot water from the bottom to the top of the geyser, providing 50 litres of hot water (at 50°C) within 30 minutes, which is ideal for a regular home.The Hot Spot was developed by Amahlathi Eco-Tech, a start-up business led by 34-year-old Sandiswa Qayi.“I used to keep switching the geyser on and off to save energy, and then had to wait for up to an hour for hot water. Now I do not have to do that anymore,” says Qayi. “The Hot Spot is a plastic sleeve that can be fitted over any standard geyser element. The fact that it can be attached to an existing geyser means that you do not have to buy a new geyser to be able to use the device.” She says the Hot Spot is almost ready to be sold to households.

“We are busy setting up a factory at Dimbaza, a town in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality in the Eastern Cape, and hope to install the Hot Spot in 40 houses in Buffalo City by March,” says Qayi.Hot Spot recently won an award for the Most Promising Youth-led Business in the 2016 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA). The GCIP-SA is part of a global initiative with the goal of promoting clean technology innovation and supporting SMEs and start-ups. In South Africa, the programme is jointly implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). US-based Cleantech Open serves as the main knowledge partner of the global programme.

The programme helps identify and support SMEs and start-ups that provide clean technology solutions in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, water efficiency, waste beneficiation, green buildings and green transportation.Qayi, who has more than five years’ project management experience, says: “The GCIP-SA has helped me to develop a good business plan. Winning this award made me, a black woman from a rural background, realise that anything is possible, and that it is also very important to grab every chance you get. This award has put my company on the map, and we can now compete locally, as well as globally,” she says.