Eskom aims to recoup up to 1500MW from electricity demand reduction

Monday, April 24, 2023

Eskom Acting Group Chief Executive, Calib Cassim, says the power utility has launched a national demand side management initiative which could save some 1500MW of energy for the grid.

Cassim was addressing the National Demand Side Management Indaba on Monday.

On Sunday evening alone, demand exceeded Eskom’s capacity availability by at least 3885MW. The deficit can reach more than 5000MW during afternoon peaks.

Demand side management is seen as a tool that can help the power utility to potentially reduce load shedding.

“Eskom needs to focus on the supply in terms of our own plants, as well as getting the DMRE more capacity from an IPP [Independent Power Producers] perspective. But while we are looking at supply let’s not forget the importance of demand side management to close that gap in terms of that capacity shortfall.

“Eskom has launched its national demand management initiative. We are aiming to achieve a capacity from this initiative of just under 1500MW…we think and we know that the potential is much greater.

“At the end of the day there’s only one objective for South Africa - stop load shedding as quickly as possible. But we need to do it in a way that ensures that we don’t compromise the integrity of the grid,” Cassim said.

Delving deeper into the initiative, Eskom’s head of Distribution Monde Bala said the power utility has identified several opportunities which may make the 1500MW aim a reality.

“We believe that there are quite a significant footprint of the traditional geysers that present an opportunity for further savings at a residential level. We believe that in terms of public lighting and street lighting there’s further opportunity to do public lighting in a manner that is energy efficient. The building and buildings codes…we are trying to press the process so that when…you do get approved, you get approved with energy efficiency in mind.

“Over and above that, we are aware that there’s a significant number of rooftop solar PVs that have already been installed which we could potentially tap into. So we’re looking at that as opportunity. We’ve got applications that we are currently processing totalling in excess of 100MW. That 100MW is one machine of the open cycle gas turbine so if we can get that, it would make a difference,” he said.

Bala emphasised that although Eskom takes responsibility for load shedding, it is “a problem that affects all of us”.

“So it is incumbent on all of us to play our role in dealing with issues of load shedding. So whilst our colleagues in the generation space are battling to fix the plants and to reduce the levels of these unplanned capacity loss factor to levels that are acceptable, it is equally important for us as consumers, as customers, as people that utilise electricity to do so in a manner that is responsible.

“Each of us, whatever we can do, wherever we are, we need to do it,” he said. –