Eastern Cape town joins load limiting test

  • Eskom confirms that it is set to go live with load limiting pilot in the Eastern Cape.
  • The testing will take place in the town of Bedford for now.
  • Instead of being loadshed during Stages 1 to 4, customers with smart meters in Bedford will have their load limited.

In June of last year Eskom began piloting its load limiting tests in selected parts of the country. This new approach was seen as a way for South African residents to still have power for essential appliances during selected lower stages of loadshedding. In the months since, load limiting has been tested and rolled out in parts of Gauteng, and now the power utility is set to go live with a pilot in the Eastern Cape.

Instead of a handful of areas, however, the test is only happening in one Eastern Cape town – Bedford.

“Electricity load limiting through smart meters is being implemented to better balance the supply and demand of electricity on the grid during Stages 1 to 4 of load shedding allowing customers to continue to use essential appliances with the capacity of up to 10 Amperes,” explained Eskom Cape Coastal Cluster GM, Mbulelo Yedwa, per SA News.

As has been the case with previous load limiting tests, a resident notification procedure will be implemented for those with compatible smart meters.

“An hour before the start of load shedding, these customers in selected pilot areas will be prompted to reduce their consumption from 60 Amperes to 10 Amperes by sending a message to the Customer Interface Unit (CIU) of the smart meter,” Eskom confirmed.

“Customers will also be notified by text message. If the customer load is still above 10 Amperes, the smart meter will automatically make two more attempts 30 seconds apart. After three failed attempts, the next reset will be in 30 minutes,” the power utility added.

While household electronics like lights, TVs, phone chargers, fridges, and security systems will still be useable under load limiting, it remains to be seen how the South African public will react to these new measures in the long-term.

That said, it looks like Eskom has few concerns, and will push load limiting to every corner of the country that it can.

“It is the responsibility of the customer to reduce consumption by switching off non-essential appliances and only keep connected essential appliances up to a maximum of 10 Amperes for the duration of the load limiting period,” the power utility concluded.

[Image – Photo by Ernest Brillo on Unsplash]


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