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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  14 Dec 2009

POWER SUPPLY: Eskom Hikes Spark LPG Interest


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ANTHONY Bronkhorst, owner of gas specialists Eddlesgas in Retreat, Cape Town, says interest in LPG products and industrial gas at a recent trade exhibition in China has confirmed that there is renewed interest in alternative and clean energy sources worldwide.

In SA, Eskom’s woes are expected to drive this trend in the short to medium term to renewed heights and ultimately translate in more sales of gas products, he says.

Eskom’s latest application for huge and consecutive tariff increases that is currently being considered by the National Energy Regulator of SA has already impacted on overseas investment in SA. The application was a factor in the cancellation of a multi-billion rand aluminium smelter at Richards Bay recently. Bronkhurst says even in the domestic market, numbers of consumers have taken to installing gas heaters in their homes to save costs.

Even without Eskom’s latest proposed price hikes of around 45% a year for three years, there has been a trend developing since the load shedding last year that harmed public confidence in Eskom’s ability as a reliable power provider, to switch to gas and other alternative clean power.”

Bronkhorst says for about three years cost comparisons between gas and electricity have been on par and there has not been a significant cost benefit for users of gas. But presently this is expected to change and Eskom’s latest round of expected price increases for electricity is simply going to make gas more cost effective.

The fact that the cost of LPG and industrial gas is expected to outperform that of Eskom power in the future will drive even more people and businesses to switching to gas than ever before,” says Bronkhorst.

Eddlesgas specialises in gas products for the domestic, hospitality and industrial markets, mainly in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. In the industrial market, the products are mainly for welding equipment.

The company has shown healthy growth in the past seven years after the company that had been started in the 1970’s, changed hands and Bronkhorst became the new owner. Eddlesgas is expanding despite the recession and is set to open a new branch in Retreat this month.

Eddlesgas supplies products that are aligned with household names such as Cadac, Alva, SafeGas, Bosch, Whirpool and Zero, as well as a wide range of fittings that cater to installers. It makes it easier for them to collect at a central point and all products are backed by importers’ and manufacturers’ warranties.

Eddlesgas also supplies a full range of gas barbeques along with a reliable service and maintenance after-sales customer care service.

On the industrial side where the company supplies gas to the engineering, hospitality and medical fields, it has shown sound growth over the past two years with revenue increases of no less than 32%, according to Bronkhorst.

We are distributors for Air Liquide industrial gasses and Afrox ‘Handigas’ as well as other brands like CEA, ESAB, Thermomax, Harris, Binzel, Gassex, Hyundai, SaffirePherd and others.”

Bronkhorst says the company has been relatively shielded from the recession helped by the seasonal nature of demand for gas. There is an increase in demand in the domestic market during winter which is offset by increased demand on the industrial side during the rest of the year.

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