Load reduction for Johannesburg as winter sets in - ESI-Africa.com

10 Jun 2024

City Power will today (Monday 10 June) start implementing load reduction in Johannesburg areas with exceedingly high electricity usage levels.

Load reduction - Figure 1
Photo ESI Africa

The utility says it will embark on stringent measures to protect the grid from total collapse as electricity consumption in the City of Johannesburg has reached critical levels.

These measures include “intensifying the implementation of ripple relay systems to cut electricity to geysers in homes where the systems are under threat, reducing load at substations with higher consumption and those under threat, and intensifying cut-off operations against illegal connections,” City Power said on Saturday.

These measures are in addition to the ripple relay and cutoffs of illegal connections currently underway.

Have you read?Electricity restored to parts of Joburg affected by cable theft

The load reduction initiative comes as winter settles in on the Highveld.

South African Weather Services noted at the beginning of June that while the country may have experienced a relatively dry and warmer-than-usual month of May, cold, wet and windy conditions hit the country during the first week of June. This was accompanied by a significant drop in daytime temperatures.

Load reduction a measure to forestall actual loadshedding

While South Africa has hit 75 days without loadshedding, national utility Eskom reminded the country on Friday that their winter forecast anticipates a likely scenario of unplanned outages of 15,000MW. This could lead to Stage 2 loadshedding if the country’s energy demand exceeds Eskom’s generational capacity.

Right now though, Eskom’s generation performance “continues to surpass the winter forecast.”

“The current unplanned outages average is at 11,300MW which is 3,000MW less than what was anticipated,” explained Eskom.

From last weekDay 72 of no loadshedding in South Africa

While the national electricity utility expected peak demand on Friday 7 June to reach 29,074MW, it also reminded that it planned to return around 3,020MW of generating capacity to service by today (10 June).

 “As demand for electricity rises while temperatures fall with the onset of winter, the issue of network overloading has resurfaced in some areas due to electricity theft.

“This theft is wide ranging and includes illegal connections, network equipment theft, vandalism, meter bypasses and tampering, unauthorised network operations and purchasing electricity from illegal vendors.

“To prevent risk to life, load reductions, while loadshedding is suspended, and abrupt loss of supply, Eskom urges customers to reduce their consumption, ensure that the electricity they consume is legally connected and purchased from legal vendors, and to report illegal activities to the Eskom Crime line on 0800 112 722,” said the national utility.

Meanwhile, back in Johannesburg

City Power’s load reduction measures will be implemented between 6am and 10am and then 4pm to 10pm in high-density areas and suburbs “with concerning usage levels that threaten to overload the electricity equipment.”

The city utility will also implement load limiting through smart meters in July “to further assist customers in saving energy without switching them off completely.”

This decision to embark on a load reduction strategy comes after efforts to encourage Johannesburg customers to use electricity wisely and efficiently in recent weeks.

Of interestEskom and City of Joburg clash over unpaid debt, billing

“Despite warnings about the constrained electricity network in the city, residents have not reduced their electricity consumption, and energy demand has continued to rise.

“Part of our measures to lighten the load on the grid through load reduction includes the installation of ripple relays,” said the City.

A ripple receiver is part of a load management system used to control the electricity supply to the geyser during peak hours. Geysers are among the biggest electricity guzzlers, accounting for up to half of monthly household energy costs.

These ripple relay receivers at different households are connected to at least 69 of City Power’s substations, and they can monitor customers’ consumption load remotely.

City Power will remotely switch off the customer geyser once they reach high consumption levels.

Find a list of City Power substations on the Ripple Relay programme online.

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