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NMBM the first to pilot load curtailment during loadshedding

Home Engineering Electrical NMBM the first to pilot load curtailment during loadshedding

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is implementing a three-month electricity load curtailment pilot project which allows residents to reduce their electricity consumption during loadshedding and keep lights and other low electricity-consuming appliances powered up.

NMBM is the first metro in the country to roll out the project. Eskom is also testing a load-limiting system in Gauteng.

At the project’s launch, on September 4, electricity and energy mayoral committee member, Zanele Sikawuti said the project’s 125 households in South End would receive new smart electricity meters at no cost to them. These meters are supported by sophisticated new technology at NMBM facilities that will monitor the new system and automatically turn off non-compliant users.

“As Nelson Mandela Bay, we want to take a lead in providing sustainable solutions that will assist our people locally and the entire country. We are the first metro to roll out a project of this kind. Eskom is also piloting this project in Johannesburg and I must commend our colleagues in E&E for taking a lead on this one. We can safely say on this one singaphezulu (we are on top),” said Sikawuti.

“The project is about cushioning our people from a total shutdown during loadshedding, instead they will have limited electricity supply,” she said. She said that the metro’s electricity demand is 650 MW. Each household has a maximum electricity demand limit of 18.4 kW. This project will reduce the demand limit to 4.6 kW.

The project seeks to address the energy crisis faced by the country while allowing residents to still have access to some electricity during loadshedding.

Consumers will receive an SMS to advise them to switch off high electricity consuming appliances including geysers, stoves, pool pumps, aircons and washing machines. During the load-limiting period, appliances such as lights, TVs, Wi-Fi connections and plugs to charge phones or laptops will continue to function.
“The message is very clear – reduce your load to stay on,” said Sikawuti. Explaining how the system will work, she said that a notification will alert customers to switch off high-demand appliances at the distribution board. If users don’t comply, it will cause the meter to trip – for a maximum of five times. If there is still no reduction in demand, the meter will switch the power off for the duration of the loadshedding period.

“We need our customers to work with us, there will be benefits to all of us in the long run. NMBM is committed to alleviating the impact of loadshedding on the economy and wellbeing of residents,” said NMBM E&E executive director, Luvuyo Magalela.
He added: “Should this pilot initiative be a success, it will open more opportunities for the metro to obtain funding to roll out the project throughout the metro. This way we can eliminate the complete darkness which leads to theft and vandalism. We can improve our revenue collection as the municipality, there will be a reduction in non-technical losses and service delivery will be improved.”
Sikawuti said that the metro should be considering supply as well as demand solutions. “In pursuit of long-term solutions, our municipality must immediately and decisively engage in a process of exploring powerships and floating regasification storage units as one of the sources of energy,” she said.

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