Eskom has relaunched the televised Power Alert initiative which informs the public of the real-time status of the national electricity network.
The Power Alert system provides a real-time link to SABC, etv, DStv and Open View and is meant to empower consumers to help balance the supply and demand of electricity.
The colour-coded alerts inform residential electricity users if the system is stable or under severe pressure.
When the system is under severe pressure the public is asked to turn off “all unnecessary electrical appliances such as lights, geysers, pool pumps and non-essential appliances”.
Eskom’s spokesperson, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, advised: “South Africa will continue to experience energy shortages for the foreseeable future and your continued assistance by switching off lights and appliances in response to the Power Alert system is commendable and highly appreciated.”
Electricity demand varies depending on the time of day, day of the week or season. For example, electricity demand often spikes as everyone turns on their lights and starts cooking dinner around the same time in the evening.
In South Africa, peak demand periods occur in the morning between 6am and 9am and in the early evenings between 5pm and 9pm. Winter also sees a significant increase in the evening peaks as a result of many people switching on heating appliances.
Green is for go for Eskom
The Power Alert makes use of real-time data and also takes into account historical loads, current real-time loads, weather conditions and supply and network conditions. This data is interpreted to generate the applicable colour-coded status level indicator:
Green: grid is stable.
Green increasing: there is limited constraints on the electrical supply and people are requested to switch off lights.
Orange: there is strain on the electrical supply. Residential consumers are urged to switch off unnecessary lights, geysers and pool pumps for the evening peak period or until notified of a green status.
Red: strain to the electrical supply has increased and loadshedding is imminent. Residential consumers are asked to switch off any unnecessary lights, geysers, pool pumps and additional loads such as non-essential appliances, air-conditioning and dishwashers. This lasts for the evening peak period or until the system changes to green or orange.
Black: there is significant strain on the electrical supply and loadshedding is in progress. Residential consumers are asked to switch off all loads that are not absolutely essential. This lasts for the evening peak period or until the system changes to green or orange.
Immediately responding to televised Power Alerts empowers residential consumers to make a significant difference to the electricity supply and demand situation says Eskom.
If all households switch off their geysers, the demand reduction is about 2,475MW, which equates to the daily electricity usage of a city the size of Tshwane.