State-owned electricity utility Eskom says it is aware of the fact that several large cities have developed load-shedding schedules for 2013, following the recent release of a new schedule by the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality, in Gauteng.
However, spokesperson Hilary Joffe insists that there are no plans currently to implement load shedding.
Besides Ekurhuleni, eThekwini and the City of Cape Town have published schedules on their websites, while many other cities are believed to have developed internal load-shedding programmes.
Johannesburg’s City Power said it was in talks with Eskom on the issue, but had not published any timetables. “We will only do load shedding if and when our discussion with the power utility concludes that we should do load shedding,” spokesperson Sol Masolo told Engineering News Online.
Ekurhuleni published its schedules on its website on May 31, advising consumers to print them out so that they were aware of the possible impact should load shedding become a necessity. The city stressed that the schedules have been designed to ensure that the impact is spread equitably over the customer base.
Joffe tells Engineering News Online that the schedules have not been developed at the request of Eskom.
However, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa made it a licence condition in 2010 for all those distribution licensees intending to conduct load shedding to develop schedules as a preparedness measure.
Schedules only need to be published and communicated in the event of load shedding and there is no requirement to publish the schedules unless implementation was envisaged.
Eskom has communicated previously that it will be conducting long-duration planned maintenance during the winter of 2013 and has continually warned of a “tight” supply/demand balance.
The utility is forecasting a 2013 winter peak of 36 800 MW. On Thursday May 30, it reported that the capacity available to meet the evening peak was 34 319 MW, while demand was forecast at 33 758 MW.