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Aug 07, 2012

Eskom hikes demand forecast as snow, cold weather sweep across SA

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State-owned national power provider Eskom has revised its forecast for peak electricity demand by about 500 MW, owing to snowfall and severe cold weather across the country.

The revised peak demand for Tuesday night is estimated at 35 648 MW, while Eskom’s available capacity, including the open cycle gas turbines, is expected to be 37 398 MW.

The utility warned that the national power system would be under significant pressure from about 17:00 to 19:00, and urged users to switch off all nonessential appliances during this time.

Snowfall swept across parts of South Africa on Tuesday, with Weather SA reporting heavy snowfall in the Western Cape mountains, the interior high ground of the Eastern Cape, the Drakensberg and Lesotho. Light snowfall has also been reported in parts of the Free State, as well in Gauteng.

Newswire Sapa quoted forecaster Jacqueline Riet as saying that Johannesburg residents could expect the light snow to continue until Wednesday morning. The last time Johannesburg experienced a substantial amount of snowfall was in June 2007.
Meanwhile, Eskom said that harsh weather conditions affected some of its transmission and distribution infrastructure in the Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

“Eskom has staff and vehicles on standby and has managed to prevent interruptions to power supply in most parts of the country, and it is working to restore power as soon as possible to those areas which have been affected,” the company said in a statement.

Owing to the public holiday on Thursday and the school holiday on Friday, peak demand for the rest of the week was expected to be lower than the peak demand for the year to date, which was 35 865 MW on June 11.

Peak demand was forecast to be 33 738 MW for Wednesday, and lower at 33 089 MW for Thursday and 33 085 MW for Friday.

“We urge all customers to use electricity prudently and to save at least 10% of their usage. This will make it easier to manage the power system during this challenging time,” the company stated.
 

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
Creamer Media Senior Researcher and Deputy Editor Online
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