CoJ proposes self-imposed load-limiting to solve loadshedding

  • Load-limiting is one idea City of Johannesburg has put forward to lessen its dependency on Eskom.
  • Customers would be warned to switch off power hungry gear in a bid to avoid a complete power cut.
  • Plans to lower the length of loadshedding from Stage 4 and worse will be announced in June.

Residents in Johannesburg have been waiting for the municipality to spill the beans after it erroneously published a plan to end loadshedding last week.

This week, however, City of Johannesburg held a meeting at its offices to divulge its plans to curb power cuts and it is definitely a plan even if we’re incredibly worried about its implementation.

As per Times Live, the municipality plans to introduce 10 programmes that would make the region less reliant on Eskom while also lowering the duration of blackouts. The first solution detailed is load limiting rather than loadshedding during Stage 1 to 3 blackouts.

Here, City Power will make use of smart meters to monitor the usage of residents and alert them to lower usage to avoid a cut.

As per the report from Times Live, the municipality will trip a customers power for 30 seconds in five cycles to warn them that their usage is too high. After five times, the power will be off for 30 minutes. Should the customer not lower their usage by switching off things that draw a lot of electricity, the cycle will repeat.

This will happen for all residents according to City Power chief executive officer Tshifularo Mashava.

“We will run that literally for everyone at the same time, then it will allow us to be able to give Eskom the MW that they require from a load-shedding perspective, but without us actual doing load-shedding, but rather doing load-limiting,” said Mashava.

“Load-limiting means that we reduce your usage at home, instead of you having the luxury of your geyser, stove or your air conditioner on at the same time, it will then be limited to use,” the CEO added.

Putting aside the fact that a stove and a geyser are considered luxuries, this plan is mighty concerning.

The idea of tripping the power for 30 seconds as a warning is going to cause damage to electronics especially if there is no warning. Just as an example, if City Power decides to load-limit at a moment’s notice while a resident is welding or busy or even baking could cause damage to equipment and business continuity.

At this stage it’s not clear if load-limiting will be restricted to certain times which follow Eskom’s requirement for loadshedding.

As for beyond Stage 3, an announcement will be made in the middle of June regarding a plan to reduce the number of hours Joburgers experience blackouts.

“Currently you have customers being switched off for four hours at a time. That is killing a lot of people because you have no productivity for that period. So we have looked at the viability of reducing this to two hours,” City Power spokesperson Isaac Mangena told Moneyweb.

As for when residents can expect to see some changes to the current situation, Mashava says she and her teams plan to complete work on these and other energy resilience projects in six months.

Unfortunately this means Winter is going to be dark and cold. However, if Johannesburg can shrug off some of its dependency on Eskom, perhaps the Winters ahead will be warm and bright.

Let’s see how the municipalities plans play out.

[Image – Pixabay]


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