Eskom has dismissed concerns that South Africa will return to regular load-shedding as electricity demand returns to normal after the prolonged lockdown.
The Saturday Star reported that the country is facing regular load-shedding in the coming weeks and that stage 6 load-shedding can’t be ruled out.
Energy expert Lungile Mashele said “current electricity demand is back to where it was prior to the lockdown and will increase as we see one of the coldest winters in the last decade”.
He added that “South Africans should brace themselves for more frequent load shedding, with stage 6 also remaining a possibility”.
Nu-Energy Developments MD Des Muller echoed Mashele’s views, saying the cold winter means “load-shedding was likely as we enter stage 2 of the lockdown and industry goes back to work”.
Eskom, however, dismissed these concerns. “We foresee the possibility of three days of stage 1 load-shedding this winter, which should occur late in July,” Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha told MyBroadband.
Mantshantsha added that nothing has changed from Eskom’s stance and to the country at large, particularly starting on 21 May 2020, during the State of the System briefing.
Load reduction in Gauteng
On Thursday Eskom started to implement load reduction in Gauteng to avoid network overloading.
Eskom has been careful to separate this practice from load-shedding, which it has assured South Africans will not be a major threat over the winter season.
Like load-shedding, load reduction involves the controlled restriction of the electricity supply and is implemented on a rotational basis and is dependant on demand.
There is, however, a difference. While load-shedding is implemented to cope with a higher electricity demand than can be met by the national grid’s capacity, load reduction is implemented in targeted areas to safeguard Eskom’s infrastructure.
“Load reduction is an initiative aimed at protecting Eskom’s assets by reducing load during peak hours in the high-density residential areas of Gauteng, which have high incidences of illegal connections and overloading,” Mantshansha said.
“These illegal connections and overloading, particularly where you have multiple households connecting through the main house, cause transformers and mini-substations to explode under the heavy unregulated weight.”
The areas targeted by Eskom’s load reduction initiative experience high levels of infrastructure failures due to illegal connections, which results in long power outages.
Affected areas in Soweto are as follows: Chiawelo, Dlamini, Jabavu, Central Wester Jabavu, Jabulani, Klipspruit, Mofolo Central, Mofolo North, Mofolo South, Molapo, Moroka, Moroka North, Orlando Ekhaya, Orlando West, Pimville Zones 1-7, Pimville Zone 9 and Senaoane.
Affected areas in the West Rand are as follows: Chamdor, Kagiso, Rietvallei, Luipaardsvlei, Sinqobile, Witpoortjie, Vaal Evaton Central, Evaton North, Evaton Small Farms, Evaton West and Lakeside.
Affected areas in the Vaal include Evaton Central, Evaton North, Evaton Small Farms, Evaton West and Lakeside.