Power test round 2

2015-09-29 11:16
Paarl Coldset printer Mosala Masekoa switches off the printing press. Nearly 800 Pietermaritzburg businesses will be voluntarily giving up at least 10% of their power usage today as part of a trial run to beat the ‘catastrophic’ effects of load shedd

Paarl Coldset printer Mosala Masekoa switches off the printing press. Nearly 800 Pietermaritzburg businesses will be voluntarily giving up at least 10% of their power usage today as part of a trial run to beat the ‘catastrophic’ effects of load shedd (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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IT’s the great switch-off again today.

Nearly 800 Pietermaritzburg businesses will be voluntarily giving up at least 10% of their power usage today as part of a trial run to beat the “catastrophic” effects of load shedding.

Through the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, the businesses will take part in a pilot drill between 9 am and noon to see just how much energy can be saved collectively without the need to shut down production.

Chamber chairperson Melanie Veness said the dry run will allow the chamber, municipality and businesses to assess whether they can side-step up to Stage 2 load shedding by state electricity supplier Eskom.

The parastatal has been implementing grid blackouts throughout the country for seven years due to the nation’s shortage in energy, old electrical networks and ageing power stations.

“We appeal to all businesses to play a part and take control of the country’s energy needs.”

Veness said there was an urgent need to distance the city’s businesses from the “chaos” caused by load shedding that includes power surges to equipment, loss of productivity and increasing costs of production.

“Load shedding is catastrophic to the economy.

“When there is load shedding, businesses lose much more than just the two hours when the power is off. We would rather ramp down our usage collectively than go completely off.”

Commercial businesses are expected to cut their energy usage by 10% while factories will cut their usage by 15%.

Business accounts for 70% of energy usage in Msunduzi Municipality.

Those taking part in the voluntary reduction will be required to turn off all non-essentials from kettles to air-conditioning.

“Businesses must still be able to function in a sustainable manner.

“They shouldn’t use generators to make up their shortfall otherwise this exercise could become increasingly costly for them.

“The pilot run will give us an idea as to whether this solution will work or not. If not, we must look at other ideas,” said Veness. She invites businesses that want to contribute to the voluntary reduction programme to e-mail Heidi at pcb@pcb.org.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  electricity

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