Eskom has again resorted to daily load-shedding because of a shortage of power grid capacity.
Load shedding is a measure of last resort to prevent the collapse of the power system country-wide. When there is insufficient power station capacity to supply the demand (load) from all the customers, the electricity system becomes unbalanced, which can cause it to trip out country-wide (a blackout).
By switching off parts of the network in a planned and controlled manner, the system remains stable throughout the day, and the impact is spread over a wider base of customers
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Jacaranda radio station earlier this week that the grid is expected to be under strain until the week of the 16th of December – when many power draining businesses close for the festive season.
Energy experts have warned that South Africa could be in the dark for several years as Eskom battles coal shortages and high maintenance costs.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, the power utility has promised that load shedding will subside by March 2019.
However, energy experts have indicated that Eskom’s load shedding and financial problems could drag the country into a ‘death spiral’.
A report seen by the paper stated that coal shortages will continue until 2025, with close to 80% of Eskom power generation currently relying on coal.
Eskom has asked households to use electricity sparingly, and has provided an info-graphic of the typical electricity usage per appliance for an hour.
“Familiarise yourself with the energy consumption of your appliances. Switching off unnecessary appliances can reduce the demand on the power system.”
City Power has gone one better by providing a calculator showing which appliances use the most electricity.
To calculate just how much electricity your home uses, it enables you to select the number of appliances, and the number of hours it is used.
Find the calculator here
What is a kilowatt hour?
A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a measure of how much energy you’re using.
If energy is transmitted or used at a constant rate (power) over a period of time, the total energy in kilowatt hours is equal to the power in kilowatts multiplied by the time in hours.
It is simply a unit of measurement that equals the amount of energy you would use if you kept a 1,000 watt appliance running for an hour: So if you switched on a 100 watt light bulb, it would take 10 hours to rack up 1 kWh of energy. Or a 2,000 watt appliance would use 1 kWh in just half an hour.