Eskom asks KZN to help beat the winter peak

2013-06-04 00:00

POWER cuts in winter could still happen and yesterday Eskom appealed to households to use less electricity, especially in the evening.

KZN Eskom general manager Sifiso Mazibuko, speaking at a media briefing in Durban, called on the utility’s customers to come to the party and save electricity, especially during the peak hours between 5 pm and 9 pm.

There was no guarantee that supply would be uninterrupted.

“Should there be an eventuality that is beyond our control there will be load shedding.”

He said there was a schedule in place for municipal areas should load shedding be required.

The call was made as the power utility plans to undertake planned maintenance on its infrastructure to ensure its ageing power stations perform more reliably and sustainably. This, however, is likely to result in the power system being tight for the next few months.

Mazibuko said while Eskom had reduced planned maintenance in winter previously, it would not be the case any more as its power stations, built in the mid-1980s, were ageing and needed attention to improve their performance.

He said the country had gone almost 30 years without building power stations.

He called on KZN residents to play their part in ensuring they switched off non-essential appliances from 5 pm until 9 pm in order to reduce electricity demand.

“In preparation for winter we encourage you to insulate your homes and switch to alternative heating during 5 pm and 9 pm,” Mazibuko said, adding that the decision was not about saving electricity, but showing customers how to do it.

“A significant behavioural change is required by everyone in the country and we need to spread the message,” Mazibuko said.

“Saving electricity reduces pressure on the grid and cuts your electricity bill and South Africa’s carbon emissions.

“Eskom urges households, in particular, to help beat the peak by reducing demand during peak hours,” he said.

According to Eskom, peak demand was expected to reach 36 700 megawatts this winter, an increase of 3 000 megawatts.

Mazibuko said power supply would be tight until 2018 as Eskom was building power stations after its requests years ago were scuppered by the government.

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