Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 27 May 2011 – Continued discipline with electricity use could help stave off the re-introduction of rostered power black outs, metros and Eskom said as cold winds and snow dragged temperatures below zero overnight.

“People should be disciplined, they should be energy conscious,” said Johannesburg City Power spokesperson Louis Pieterse, responding to concern that the posting of a load shedding schedule on the city’s website meant that the next step would be the dreaded rolling blackouts.

“Basically we update the schedule every year, but that does not imply that updating means load shedding,” he added.

Chamber of Mines spokesperson Jabu Maphalala said the industry had signed an agreement committing itself to reducing consumption by 10%, and the chamber had adjusted to this.
“There is no information to say that there will be problems with production," he said.

Electricity trading between South Africa and its neighbours was also affected as an Eskom converter station was refurbished in Cahora Bassa, Mozambique, and there was system unavailability in Zambia.

A City of Cape Town media spokesperson said the city had also publicised a load shedding roster and had run an advertising campaign to inform consumers of their need to reduce consumption by at least the 10% minimum saving that Eskom had advocated.

Nelson Mandela Bay metro spokesperson Kupido Baron said: “People mustn’t worry, but the less people use, the better for all of us, because it does affect the infrastructure.”

The winter peak demand is expected to reach 37 500MW in July this year, compared with last year’s peak of 36 970MW.

“The evening peaks so far have hovered around 35 000 MW with last night’s usage expected to touch the 36 000MW mark,” Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said.