Energy provision and the role it plays in poverty alleviation is well documented. South Africa has an ambitious poverty alleviation program of halving 2004 poverty levels by 2014, which demands an increase in the provision of energy to both urban and rural impoverished areas. Yet the country has no energy based poverty indicators to guide such policy. This paper attempts to fill that gap by developing reliable, theoretically rigorous energy based indicators from extant data gathered in the 2005 South African household survey. An end-use and access-adjusted energy based poverty indicator compares favourably with other poverty variables using correlation analysis. We find that such indicators can assist government policy in meeting poverty targets such as that outlined by the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA).