Things have been going relatively well for everyone’s favourite electricity utility recently. “Relatively” being the key word here, what with Eskom dumping around 608 hours — or 25 days (of 33 total) — on the country’s head this year. It’s doing its best to make up for those blackouts, having just announced that it would be expanding its load limiting project that was first introduced to Fourways and later to Riverside View in 2023.
If Eskom is to be believed, the pilot programme in Fourways and Riverside View was a success, having received a “good reception” over the past couple of months. The state utility announced that it would be greatly expanding the project to several new areas. Those are; Buccleuch, Kelvin, Paulshof, Marlboro and of course, Sunninghill — where you’d find Eskom’s headquarters.
Eskom says limit your load
Eskom rolls out load limiting across Gauteng to allow customers to use some appliances during Stages 1 to 4 of loadshedding pic.twitter.com/C1HJq892NC
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) February 1, 2024
Load limiting, for those still in the dark, is a part of Eskom’s Demand Side Management (DSM) initiative. The big idea is to “manage and optimise electricity consumption to better balance the supply and demand of electricity on the grid during Stages 1 to 4 of loadsheding.” In short, it’s looking to reduce those areas’ electricity consumption, rather than send them to the dark lands once for a couple of hours at a time.
So why have Buccleuch, Kelvin, Paulshof, Marlboro, and Sunninghill been singled out? It’s got nothing to do with favouritism (aside from the possible exception of Sunninghill) and rather everything to do with those areas’ affinity towards smart meters — which can be controlled remotely. The power supplier, however, is only getting into bed with “select customers” that have smart meters installed.
“Through load limiting measures during Stages 1 to 4 of loadshedding, customers’ electricity capacity will be reduced from 60/80 Amps to 10 Amps. This will allow customers to continue with the minimal use of electricity for essential appliances such as lights, TVs, Wi-Fi routers, fridges and security systems,” Eskom said.
The utility said that affected customers would be warned via SMS an hour before traditional Stage 1-4 load shedding would usually be implemented, warning them to reduce their consumption by 10 Amps. Customers will have four chances to comply — those who do not will have their electricity turned off for 30 minutes at a time.
The state utility signed off the announcement with a plea for affected customers to take the initiative seriously, noting that its success relies heavily on all those involved. It hasn’t yet announced an expansion of the project, though we get the idea that success here could mean a wider rollout sooner rather than later.