Due to a number of complex interactions between economic, social and cultural factors some households consume a portfolio of energy sources such as coal, biomass fuel, paraffin, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and solar power at different points. This phenomenon has been shown to characterise these households irrespective of their electrification status. Women are regarded as household energy managers because they perform most of the household duties which require the use of energy, yet research on women s fuel choices has not received much attention in the literature. The aim of this paper is to present the participants stories on how they utilise multiple fuels within the household and on the stories they tell about allocating these fuels to various household activities. Nine women were purposefully selected from the Soshanguve area in the City of Tshwane. Data was collected through individual in-depth interviews and narrative analysis was used to generate findings in the form of themes which emerged from the stories. Five themes about women s decision making with regard to using multiple fuels in their households were identified: the availability of a choice of fuels in the vicinity, various challenges with using electricity (including free basic electricity), strategies for managing the use of household fuel, the safety of using various fuels, and having access of the free basic electricity. The participants stories portray how household fuel choices can contribute towards changing residential behaviour related to energy production and consumption. In addition, they show how local knowledge can be employed in the design of new energy solutions.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.