South African electric utility, Eskom, is set to pilot a ground-breaking “load-limiting” initiative. Aiming to help residents in Johannesburg’s suburb, Fourways, keep the lights, televisions, and internet connections humming even during periods of load-shedding, the project is a significant step forward in managing the electricity crisis.
Eskom’s Load-Limiting Innovation
The residential community of Dainfern Valley, located in Fourways, will be the first to test the waters of Eskom’s “load-limiting” measures during load-shedding, from stage 1 to stage 4. This move will give households the opportunity to keep lights and certain appliances operational during load-shedding’s lower stages.
However, the level of relief from load-shedding for each household will be directly tied to their capacity to limit energy consumption.
Smart Meter-Based Demand Side Management
“Eskom is commencing the nationwide implementation of the Load Limiting Project, starting with a pilot in Fourways on Friday, 23 June 2023,” the company revealed in a public statement. The pilot will focus primarily on selected customers with smart meters.
The “load-limiting” initiative is a part of Eskom’s Demand Side Management (DSM) strategy, which aims to optimize and regulate power consumption to align electricity supply and demand more effectively during load-shedding stages 1 to 4.
Under this project, the electricity capacity for direct Eskom customers will be curtailed from 60/80 Amps to a mere 10 Amps.
Managing Consumption for Load Limiting
An hour before load-shedding starts, customers will be alerted via a message to their customer interface unit (CIU) and mobile phone, urging them to cut down their usage to 10 Amps. Customers will be granted four chances to decrease their consumption. Failing to do so, their smart meter will automatically turn off the power supply throughout the load-shedding period.
Dainfern Valley has notified its residents about this pilot project, highlighting that basic electrical appliances such as lights, televisions, Wi-Fi routers, and refrigerators will continue operating during load-shedding. Yet, high-power appliances that draw excessive energy, such as stoves, geysers, irons, pool pumps, hair dryers, and air fryers, will need to be switched off to avoid total disconnection.
Safeguarding Community Security
The initiative also involves keeping street and traffic lights on during load-shedding to enhance neighborhood safety.
Customers who are drawing excessive power will receive an SMS notification and will have approximately five seconds to switch off power-guzzling appliances. This arrangement applies to pre-paid meters as well.
The pilot will extend to areas including Beverley, Lonehill, Craigavon, Magaliessig, Dainfern Valley, Witkoppen, Fourways, and Douglasdale.