Switching off all non-essential appliances during the 5pm to 9pm evening peak will save you money and assist Eskom during its maintenance period said the energy provider.

 

The electricity powerhouse admitted yesterday (Monday 22 April) that its planned maintenance for their ageing fleet of power stations will put the system under strain for the next few months particularly during these peak times.

 

In previous years, Eskom reduced planned maintenance during the winter months, to ensure there would be maximum capacity for the increase in electricity demand.

 

“This winter is different. We cannot and will not defer essential maintenance work. We are taking action to ensure that our power stations can improve and sustain their performance, so that they can meet South Africa’s long-term need for a secure supply of electricity,” said Eskom chief executive, Brian Dames.

 

Damage control

 

Almost two thirds of Eskom’s power stations are past the mid-point of their expected operating lives and require higher levels of planned maintenance work. Finding the space to do that, while meeting demand has been a particular big challenge for Eskom this year.

 

Imports from Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa power station were reduced by 900 megawatts (MW) because of  flood damage to a transmission line in February, while the  unplanned outage of Unit 1 of Eskom’s Koeberg power station, reduced capacity by a further 900 MW. The unit is expected to be back on line this week.  In addition, the performance of Eskom’s power stations has been extremely volatile, further constraining capacity.

 

“The proposed planned maintenance over the winter period is considered fixed and must be implemented. We urge all customers to partner with us to save electricity to ensure adequate space is created for the planned maintenance while ensuring there is sufficient operating reserve,” said Dames.

 

More power to the people

 

Eskom is implementing a five-year plan for the maintenance required to ensure a long-term reliable and sustainable supply of electricity. The plan will require that a 10% average planned maintenance ratio is sustained over the five years.

 

“Eskom’s power stations are at a stage where plant reliability can no longer be compromised by delaying maintenance,” said minister of public enterprises, Malusi  Gigaba.

 

Peak demand is expected to reach approximately 36 700 MW, similar to last winter. Eskom advises that in the winter months, consumers can reduce  electricity consumption by switching off geysers, pool pumps, non-essential lighting and any other non-essential appliances.
 

"The power needed to keep a geyser running is 39% of the average household's overall electricity usage. This is why switching off your geyser during peak times can save you quite a bit," said Eskom spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe. 



To optimize electricity efficiency, geysers should also be located as close as possible to the points where hot water is being used.
 
Opt for a shower instead of a bath. You will use less water and therefore less hot water which saves on power needed for your geyser.

 
Avoid leaving your TV, DVD player etc. on standby mode as these appliances still use up to 50% off their operating power. Rather switch them off at the power button.