City Power implements load reduction

Monday, June 10, 2024

Johannesburg’s power utility, City Power, is expected to begin implementing load reduction in areas it says have “exceedingly high” electricity usage levels.

The load reduction is expected to be implemented from this morning.

More than 80 areas will be affected and grouped into six blocks for load reduction, which will not exceed 2.5 hours per block.

“The decision to initiate load reduction follows extensive efforts to encourage customers to use electricity wisely and efficiently in recent weeks.

“Despite warnings about the constrained electricity network in the city, residents have not reduced their electricity consumption, and energy demand has continued to rise,” the utility’s spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, said.

Mangena explained that consumption in the metro has reached “critical levels, forcing… City Power to embark on stringent measures to protect the grid from total collapse”.

“City Power has recorded an enormous increase in the average evening peak load in some areas, which went up by 65%, from 25MW during the summer months to 33MW between April and May 2024. In some instances, the load reaches 42MW, constituting a 110% increase in consumption levels in comparison with the warmer season.

“During January and March this year, the average off-peak consumption at some of our substations has been sitting at 20MW. Between April and May, consumption shot up by 50%, increasing the off-peak load to 30MW. With temperatures expected to drop even more between June and July, the consumption levels could have dire consequences on our network infrastructure if load reduction is not urgently implemented,” he said.

The power utility is also embarking on other measures to work in tandem with load reduction.

“Part of our measures to lighten the load on the grid through load reduction includes the installation of ripple relays. A ripple receiver is part of a load management system used to control the electricity supply to the geyser during peak hours.

“Geysers are among the biggest electricity guzzlers, accounting for up to 50% of monthly household energy costs. These ripple relay receivers at different households are connected to at least 69 of our substations, and we can monitor customers’ consumption load remotely. City Power will remotely switch off the customer geyser once they reach high consumption levels,” Mangena said.

Illegal connections

The spokesperson said illegal connections are also contributing to an already “severely strained” electricity network.

“City Power continues to intensify the removal of illegal connections and revenue collection operations across the City of Johannesburg this winter season. This seeks not only to alleviate pressure on the system but to recover the billions owed to it and send a strong message to non-paying customers to pay for the services they use daily or have their power supply cut off.

“From our observations, those who are illegally connected or tampered with meters, are amongst the highest consumers of electricity, because they do not experience the financial consequences of keeping high and irresponsible usage,” he said.

The schedule for load reduction is available on the City Power website. –