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Load limiting: a smart solution to reduce the need for load shedding?

energy efficiency
City Power increases time intervals for non-compliant households

In South Africa, Johannesburg’s power utility City Power has adjusted the Load Limiting intervals for non-compliant households from the current 30 second interlude to three minutes, which became effective on Wednesday 5 August.

City Power has recently launched a smart meter pilot, a concept which is aimed at reducing the need to implement load shedding.

AllAfrica cited a press release, which stated that City Power has introduced Load Limiting technology to its areas of supply in Johannesburg, and approximately 30,000 smart meters have been uploaded with Load Limiting capabilities.

In April, fin24 reported that City Power had confirmed that there were 65,000 installed smart meters in Johannesburg and plans were in place to increase this number to 150,000 households by October 2015.

Load Limiting

Households that are connected to Load Limiting meters will have their power cut if they go above the stipulated threshold of 21Amps.

With the new time intervals, households will have five power disconnections of 30 seconds each until they have switched off the necessary appliances to reduce consumption.

Non-compliant households will have their intervals increased to 3 minutes each until the required consumption is met, allAfrica cited from a press release.

Households will be encouraged to manually override the geyser switches and disconnecting appliances from secondary dwellings such as cottages and outside rooms.

Load Limiting a possible solution

According to a statement, Managing Director of City Power, Sicelo Xulu, advised residents not to panic when they experience these prolonged shortages during Load Limiting, but rather manually disconnect energy-guzzling appliances in order to keep the lights on and be spared from the inconvenience of load shedding.

Xulu says Load Limiting is a viable and feasible alternative to load shedding: “With Load Limiting, customers can still enjoy a quality of life they are accustomed to and don’t have to be enveloped by a blanket of darkness during load shedding.

“This first to market technology enhances the value proposition of Johannesburg and makes it the ideal place to work and live it gives its residents the ability to avert complete power outages.”

What is Load Limiting?

The concept of Load Limiting will enable City Power to relieve some of the pressure placed on the grid with the aim of reducing the need for load shedding.

Xulu added: “We appeal to residents to work with us to ensure that we keep the lights on during this difficult period.

“The implementation of this mitigating intervention, which is a first of its kind in South Africa, will ensure that we use electricity sparingly during periods of constrained supply and thus spare ourselves the inconvenience associated with being completely load shed.”

According to City Power the impact of Load Limiting is the following:

  • The connected smart meter will monitor the load in the household.
  • The smart meter will disconnect the main electricity supply if the requested in-house load reduction is not adhered to.
  • In the period when the mains is disconnected, please ensure to switch off main contributing loads, during this period.
  • The meter will reconnect mains to the house, where after it will monitor the current in-house load.
  • If the in-house load is below the load limit threshold, the electricity supply will remain connected.
Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.