Eskom to roll-out ‘load limiting’ to more Gauteng areas following Fourways pilot

1st February 2024 By: Terence Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Eskom to roll-out ‘load limiting’ to more Gauteng areas following Fourways pilot

Eskom is aiming to expand the coverage of its so-called ‘load limiting project’ – where households equipped with smart meters continue to receive limited power supply during periods of Stage 1 to 4 loadshedding –  to more Gauteng suburbs, following a pilot project in the Fourways area.

The utility reports that, following a good reception in Fourways, the demand side management initiative was extended to Riverside View in the second half of 2023 and that it will now be implemented in Buccleuch, Kelvin, Paulshof, Marlboro, Sunninghill and Waterfall.

“The initiative focuses on select customers with smart meters as these have the technical functionality to be controlled remotely. Through load limiting measures during Stages 1 to 4 of loadshedding, customers’ electricity capacity will be reduced from 60/80 Amps to 10 Amps,” Eskom explained in a statement.

Eskom said that at such a level of supply, customers were able to continue with the minimal use of electricity for essential appliances such as lights, TVs, Wi-Fi routers, fridges and security systems.

“An hour before the start of loadshedding, Eskom will prompt customers to reduce their consumption to 10 Amps by sending a message to their cellphones.

“The system will provide the customer with four opportunities to reduce their consumption.

“Thereafter, if the load has not been reduced, the meter will automatically switch off the electricity supply for 30 minutes before supply is restored.”

The move to extend load limiting follows South Africa’s worst-ever year of loadshedding in 2023, during which rotational power cuts were implemented almost daily, at times at levels as high as Stage 6.

It also comes amid indications that loadshedding will remain a risk for a number of years, owing to the ongoing unreliability of the aged coal fleet and the new coal power stations , as well as the slow pace of public procurement of new utility-scale supply.

The extension of load limiting in Gauteng also follows news that Clarens, in the Eastern Free State, has become the first town nationally to embrace ‘group curtailment’, as an alternative to loadshedding.

Group curtailment, which is also available during stages 1 to 4, requires an entire community to reduce load by between 10% and 20% when requested.

A nominated group coordinator is given two hours’ notice by Eskom to direct cooperating customers to reduce demand for the full duration of what would otherwise have been a period of loadshedding.

Three instances of non-compliance results in the reinstatement of normal loadshedding, however.