South African state-owned power utility Eskom, has announced that its equipment failure rate following the implementation of its load reduction initiative on 13 May 2020, in the Gauteng residential areas is showing a positive trend.
The parastatal added in a statement that they would like this trend to further improve and contain it during this winter period.
In addition, customers are experiencing fewer outages as a result of the measures in place.
In the past three years (2017 to 2019), Eskom in Gauteng has recorded a significant number of pole-mounted transformers and mini substations which failed because of network overloading during the winter period.
Motlhabane Ramashi, Gauteng Maintenance and Operations Senior Manager, said: “The measures we have put in place are curbing these failures. As a response to the overloading, we urge our customers in particularly high-density areas and those with multiple and/or backyard dwellings to use only essential energy in an effort to avoid load reductions and prolonged outages due to network faults, as a result of overloading.
“We would like to reiterate that the load reductions are implemented in the identified areas or networks that are overloaded. Our commitment remains to provide electricity safely without degenerating the assets. It is important to run our operations efficiently and curb financial losses as a result of illegal activities that cause overloading, as this is costly and unsustainable. The electricity service is crucial for other essential service providers during the nation’s lockdown period.”
The power utility recently reported that it is experiencing a high energy demand during peak periods in the mornings and evenings between 05:00 and 09:00, and again between 17:00 and 21:00 and has therefore implemented the load reduction to protect assets from repeated failure and explosions resulting from illegal connections, meter tampering, and vandalism of the electricity infrastructure.
As part of real-time network monitoring, load reduction may be implemented as precautionary measure outside of stipulated time should the need arise to protect the asset in line with electricity regulations and PFMA (the public finance management act).
“We discourage all illegal connections and activities as they result in overloading and prolonged outages. The safety of the public remains a concern coupled with the community resistance for us to remove the illegal connections,” concluded Ramashi.