Cabinet seeks national energy effort

Sapa | 02 May 2013 | Engineering News

Cabinet has called for a “national effort” to reduce electricity use this winter.

Briefing journalists in Pretoria on Thursday, two days after Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said there were no plans to start power cuts.

He said the executive appreciated the effort by South Africans to date, which had seen the country save 3 586 MW of energy since 2005.

“In this spirit, Cabinet calls for a national effort this winter for further reductions in the use of electricity, as energy supply will once again come under seasonal pressure.

“Together, let us conserve energy by switching off non-essential appliances,” he said.

Cabinet’s call comes a week after utility Eskom’s own urgent call on consumers to help it “beat the peak” this winter.

CEO Brian Dames said Eskom was confident it could supply power “most of the day”, but the utility’s primary concern was early evenings, when there was a significant spike in demand.

“We believe that it’s more than do-able, with the support of customers, to reduce that demand over that peak period. We think that a drop in demand of more than 2 000 MW will be more than enough to ensure the security of supply within that period.”

Dames said Eskom intended performing essential maintenance on nine power generation units between April and August this year. This was unavoidable for the long-term sustainability of its power plants.

He said if four million households switched off their hot-water geysers between 5 pm and 9 pm each day, this would yield the electricity saving needed.

Chabane confirmed on Thursday that what he called “the precarious energy situation” was due to both essential maintenance as well as unintended technical issues, including cable theft.

“Cabinet highlights that currently there are no plans to start load-shedding. South Africans will be informed in advance should the need arise for any such action, so that we can all plan sufficiently.”

Various programmes were in place to ensure that electricity demand was met and the integrity of the power system maintained at all times, Chabane said.

SOURCE: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/cabinet-seeks-national-energy-effort-2013-05-02

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