Early results from a pilot project, whereby customers are charged higher rates for power on selected peak demand days, were “very promising”, Eskom said on Tuesday.
“The critical peak day pricing is a pricing option Eskom is currently piloting with customers who have opted into the pilot,” Eskom’s media desk said.
The pilot project began in October 2013 and would run until October this year.
“How it works is customers are informed a day ahead of the critical peak day and they decide whether to reduce consumption or to pay the higher price.”
The pilot project limits the number of critical peak days to 17 days per year.
“The customers on the pilot are customers that have time-of-use metering, which means that it cannot be offered at this stage to residential customers.”
The initial results indicated that customers were, on average, reducing consumption by a quarter on the critical peak days.
“At this stage the tariff is only available to the pilot customers… and Eskom will, once the results of the pilot are completed, make a decision as to whether to make this a standard offer to customers.”
In recent weeks Eskom has struggled to keep the lights on, with equipment failures, maintenance backlogs, and financial woes.
Eskom began with stage one rotational power cuts on Tuesday morning, but later escalated to stage two. This would continue until 10pm.
Stage one allows for up to 1000MW of the national load to be cut, stage two for up to 2000MW, and stage three for up to 4000MW.
In December 5, Eskom implemented stage three load-shedding.
Eskom has repeatedly warned that the power system would remain “extremely constrained” for the rest of the Summer.
It has warned in previous years that winter is an energy-intensive time requiring power saving.