The South African electricity system remains constrained but stable says Eskom, calling on consumers to sustain energy savings of at least 10% in order to reduce the load on the power system.

“The system still remains constrained and we will continue to rely on the partnerships we have with our customers for the necessary voluntary energy savings,” says Brian Dames, Eskom chief executive.

While there has been a recovery, the system remains under pressure. The contribution of all South Africans – industrial, commercial and residential customers to save electricity throughout the day remains important.
“We request all South Africans to continue with their energy savings efforts so we can get enough space to augment diesel and water reserves at our Open Cycle Gas Turbines and pumped storage schemes while we continue with our maintenance plan.”

This announcement follows the power emergency declared by Eskom last week, after it lost generating units. Metal producers were told to reduce their load by a minimum of 10% or raise the risk of power cuts in cities.

Both BHP Billiton, whose aluminium smelters are the country’s biggest power users, and Anglo American offered to assist Eskom by cutting usage. The Chamber of Mines said its members had been working with Eskom on the emergency protocol for the past three months and would do what they could to protect the network.

“It isn’t the responsibility of the large industrial customers alone to carry the full burden of the electricity-supply emergency,” the Johannesburg-based chamber said in an e-mailed statement. “This is a ‘national emergency’ and all stakeholders have a responsibility to curtail electricity demand by at least 10%.”

Source: Eskom. For more information, click here.

Picture: Brian Dames, Eskom chief executive