The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) is taking innovative steps to address electricity usage during load shedding by launching a groundbreaking load curtailment pilot project. According to news24, this initiative allows residents to reduce their electricity consumption during load shedding while keeping essential lights and low-power appliances operational.
NMBM has become the first metro in South Africa to introduce this project, aligning with Eskom’s efforts to roll out load-limiting systems tested in Gauteng.
The project’s official launch took place on September 4. Councillor Zanele Sikawuti, the Electricity and Energy Mayoral Committee Member, shared the project’s objectives. Under this initiative, 125 households in South End will receive smart electricity meters at no cost. These meters will have advanced technology linked to NMBM facilities, which will monitor the system and automatically switch off non-compliant households.
Councillor Sikawuti emphasised the importance of local solutions to address the energy supply challenges faced by the country. NMBM aims to lead by example and provide sustainable solutions benefiting residents and the nation.
The primary goal of this project is to cushion residents from complete power shutdowns during load shedding. Instead of total darkness, households will have a limited electricity supply during these periods. Under normal conditions, NMBM’s electricity demand is 650 Megawatts (MW), with each home having a maximum electricity demand of 18.4 Kilowatts (KW). This project will reduce the demand to 4.6 Kilowatts (KW).
During load limiting, residents will receive bulk SMS notifications advising them to switch off high electricity-consuming appliances such as geysers, stoves, pool pumps, air conditioners, and washing machines. However, essential devices like lights, television sets, Wi-Fi connections, and phone or laptop chargers will continue to operate.
The project’s message is clear: residents can stay connected by reducing their electricity load during load shedding. If households fail to comply with load reduction requests, the smart meters will trip up to five times. If non-compliance persists, the meters disconnect the electricity supply for the load-shedding period.
NMBM aims to work collaboratively with its customers. It highlights that there will be long-term benefits for all stakeholders. The municipality is committed to mitigating the impact of load shedding on the economy and residents’ well-being. Success in this pilot initiative could open opportunities for expanding the project citywide, improving revenue collection, reducing non-technical losses, and enhancing service delivery.
The load curtailment project will undergo a three-month pilot phase. If successful, it may be extended to benefit residents in other metro areas, contributing to the stability of energy sources and supporting the region’s economic development strategy. This initiative includes exploring innovative energy sources like Powerships and Floating Regasification Storage Units for the municipality’s long-term energy needs.
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