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I’m no expert in the technicalities of loadshedding. But after clocking up many wasted hours in a gridlocked Joburg courtesy of unpowered robots, allow me to float an obvious question: Why can’t Eskom restrict the blackouts to those 20 or so hours in the day outside the morning and afternoon peak traffic periods?
This is completely rational. It’s surely only after people arrive at work that the country’s big power consumers – commerce and industry – switch on their electricity guzzlers? Instead of the current mechanistic schedule, surely technology exists to introduce a little flexibility?
If the bureaucrats use some arcane argument to tell us that’s impossible, then how about Eskom reinvesting some of the gazillions prized from taxpayers by rolling out solar panels to power the lights at major traffic intersections?
Time for some long overdue lateral thinking from Megawatt Park. Please.
Comment from Biznews community member Bruce Nourse:
Your comment on loadshedding, and avoiding peak traffic hours:
The peak power demand hours are 7-10am and 6-8pm, and have been for many years. The morning peak in particular is when production plants are starting up, and productivity is hit if power is cut then.
Your premise seems to be that Eskom is able to limit themselves to short-term maintenance shuts, indicating free will on application of loadshedding, but this is certainly not so for large boilers and turbines.
Some years ago we had the MaxiFlex tariff, whereby large consumers were given discounts on the supply price if they were able to tolerate being switched off at short notice for those peak 5 hours per day.
Many large consumers operate 24/7, and switching off for short periods can severely disrupt production both in quality and quantity.
Comment from Biznews community member Ed Jowitt:
They did what you are suggesting but could not keep it up due to the severity of the equipment failures. Guess they had the option of keeping drive time electricity on, else go to a higher stage of load shedding.
Comment from Biznews community member Derek Ridgard:
I run a Plastic Conversion business in Pinetown. We employ 300 people and last year we spent R15m on electricity. We run a 24 hour operation, as do, I would submit all meaningful consumers of energy.
It is, respectfully, very naïve to think that industry ‘switches’ on in the morning and then heads home at 5pm like the rest of the population. On the contrary.
Comment from Biznews community member Andreas Wagner:
Power peaks, and SA has two of them, one morning, one late afternoon, are the problem.
There are however always options and solutions, if only there is a will and money is not used as an excuse.
I have presented to the Tshwane metro (where I reside) a solution that allows a system that feeds power into their own network. By selling this self-generated power to their existing clients, they pay the installed system off.
In cases of load shedding, the traffic light stay on. A self-paying system, that costs far less than the R1.3 bar that the systems in Sandton cost many moons ago.
The interest from the engineers was immense. The idea died in the meeting with the “city sustainability manager”. Very sad!
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
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