Every household and business in South Africa has been, and will likely continue to be affected by load shedding. Eskom’s mandate is to ensure the security of supply to service the all South Africans. Eskom generates, transports and distributes electricity, and, there should be, at all times, a sufficient supply to meet demand. Unfortunately, this is not consistent because of peak periods when demand is higher, as well as the continuous growth in the number of customers requiring electricity services. Load shedding, or load reduction, is done throughout the country as a controlled option to protect the electricity power system from a total blackout.
What is being done?
It has been stated that part of the problem is not the shortage of coal, but issues pertaining to maintenance of Eskom’s power plants. The use of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power has helped with the reduction of load shedding. A large portion of electricity is used for water heating. By using solar power to heat water, a substantial decrease in the usage of electricity generated by Eskom will occur, as it is the most cost effective and easiest renewable option to implement. Solar water heating’s cost /kW could be as low as R 22,500/kW compared to other renewable technologies which are significantly higher. Another alternative is The Sere Wind Farm Project in the Western Cape. Currently operational, it will continue to contribute to assist Eskom’s effort to ensure continuity of supply to its customers. It will also proactively engage in clean, sustainable electric power generation in the long term.
Doing your bit
By doing your part, you can help in our country’s electrical supply crises. By ensuring that you use electricity wisely, and by being aware of your effort, it can go a long way in keeping the goal of sustainable electricity for all a reality. There are suggestions that include:
- switching off appliances at the wall when not in use,
- using lights and other electrical necessities only when necessary,
- and replacing light bulbs with lower wattage bulbs.
Take a moment to consider what you can do to help our country sustain its electricity supply. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount you can do.