Vivica Group — the holding company behind companies such as Vox — is launching Stage Zero, “a power utility provider which is poised to radically overhaul how South African households are forced to deal with Eskom and local municipality unreliability.” If the company’s introductory statement didn’t make it clear enough, Stage Zero is an independent solar power provider, and it’ll be taking on the likes of MetwroWatt, Hohm Energy, and the rest with some out-of-the-box thinking.
Back to Stage Zero
Stage Zero isn’t like other power utility providers. That’s according to Stage Zero CEO, Abraham van der Merwe, who claims the company is more than a simple provider of solar or battery backup systems “attempting to position a new product”. What sets it apart from the is its selling of a value proposition “in the form of utility cost savings or loadshedding protection – without the burden of long-term risk currently associated with the industry.”
“We did things differently,” van der Merwe said. “We looked at the industry and noticed several problems. First, no one was making a clear value proposition to the customer. In other words, what are you going to achieve? Will you save money, or will you simply be paying extra on top of your utility bill? Will you be guaranteed to survive load shedding?”
To that end, Stage Zero’s whole schtick involves lessening South Africa’s reliance on Eskom, while making its products cheaper and easier to manage than the competition’s.
Specifically, it’s offering customers access to the usual array of portable, solar, and backup battery solutions at an “affordable” monthly fee, that “meets their specific needs.” That means not only paying for the solution itself but also for ongoing maintenance support from Stage Zero, alongside a “replacement guarantee”. And if the country falls further victim to Eskom in the form of Stage 7 or 8 load shedding, Stage Zero customers can simply upgrade or adjust their plans as necessary.
“We want to make electricity as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. To do this, we enter into short-term contracts with homeowners, renters and businesses who wish to save on their utility bills or reduce their exposure to load shedding and as a result, our customers have greater control over their energy requirements,” van der Merwe continued.
Cheaper than most
Considering the brand’s built-for-the-customer solutions, it didn’t mention wholly fixed prices on its solar or backup battery solutions. Backup options start at R600 and solar at R1400 but you’ll need to head over to the Stage Zero website to find your home’s monthly cost. You’ll need to give up some information such as your address, whether you own or rent the property, use prepaid electricity, and how much you spend monthly.
Give it the information it needs, and it’ll spit out four different solutions made up of Basic, Essentials, Standard, or Premium — with the more expensive solutions covering more items across your household. The Premium offering, for example, will cover your entire home, while the Basic might only cover your home’s lights and plug sockets. You can even choose whether you want protection from Stage 4 load shedding, or up the price and get complete protection from ‘Stage 8’ load shedding.
Updated 13/12 to add starting prices for installation.