Call for Further Energy Efficiency Improvements for SA

SOUTH African utility Eskom kept the lights on over the winter and is actively partnering with consumers to do the same while executing much-needed maintenance on ageing power stations.

At its third quarterly State of the System media briefing of 2012, Eskom reported that it had kept the lights on throughout winter, as it has done nationally since April 2008. However, the power system remains tight, and summer is always a challenge as they strive to keep a balance between keeping the lights on and performing the regular summer maintenance.

“The performance of our power stations has been volatile going into summer. Most of our power stations are middle-aged and they will need sustained high levels of maintenance if they are to perform reliably,” said Eskom Chief Executive Brian Dames. “We thank customers who have partnered with us, and Government for its support and active championing of the energy efficiency drive,” Dames said.

Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba urged all sectors of society to support the call by the 49M energy saving movement to create an energy efficient South Africa. He said behavioural change in the way South Africans use electricity will contribute towards efforts by Eskom to reduce constraints on the country’s power system.

“As in the past, the support of all consumers remains a key lever in ensuring uninterrupted electricity supply, and as the Department we will make sure that Eskom continues dialogue with big business as key stakeholders whilst not forgetting households and other electricity users in the process. We would like to urge the country to continue to support our efforts of keeping the lights on, especially as we go into summer which is the maintenance season and will be even more challenging,” he said.

Eskom has put supply and demand initiatives in place over the past two years to enable it to manage a power system which is expected to be tight for at least the next two years. Some of Eskom’s large industrial and mining customers have provided invaluable assistance through the demand response programme for up to two hours over peak periods, at times when the power system has been very constrained. On the supply side, more than 1000 MW has been signed up from independent power producers, including municipal generators.

Eskom reported that demand for electricity for the year to date has been more than 2% lower than in the same period last year, reflecting weaker than expected economic growth, and commodity market conditions as well as demand side management initiatives. 

Picture of Soweto by Michael Denne from Hobart, Australia [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday 16th October 2012


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