In a media statement released on Wednesday 20 May, Eskom confirmed that the power utility’s equipment failure rate in Gauteng shows a positive trend since its implementation on 13 May.
Eskom added that customers are experiencing fewer outages, and said it would like to “further improve and contain the positive trend” in Gauteng residential areas during the winter period.
Eskom’s load reduction initiative
Providing electricity safely without incurring losses
According to the power utility, Eskom recorded a significant number of pole-mounted transformers and mini substations in Gauteng “which failed because of network overloading during winter”.
Motlhabane Ramashi, Gauteng Maintenance and Operations Senior Manager, explains that the measure put in place this month successfully curbed these failures, and adds:
“Our commitment remains to provide electricity safely without degenerating the assets. It is important to run our operations efficiently and curb financial losses as a result of illegal activities that cause overloading, as this is costly and unsustainable.”
Ramashi urges customers in high-density areas in Gauteng “and those with multiple and/or backyard dwellings to use only essential energy in an effort to avoid load restrictions and prolonged outages due to network faults.”
Overloading and load reduction during lockdown
Ramashi also explains that load restrictions were implemented in “identified areas or networks which are overloaded”, especially during the lockdown period.
The initiative was implemented on 13 May when Eskom noted that it was experiencing high-energy demand during the morning and evening peak periods, between 5:00 and 9:00, and again from 17:00 to 21:00.
“As part of real-time network monitoring, load reduction may be implemented as a precautionary measure outside of the stipulated time should the need arise to protect assets in line with electricity regulations of PFME”.
Illegal connections result in overloading and outages
Eskom strongly discourages “all illegal connections and activities – which may result in overloading and outages – and urges the public to report any suspicious or illegal activity.
“The safety of the public remains a concern coupled with the community resistance for us to remove illegal connections”.
Motlhabane Ramashi, Gauteng Maintenance and Operations Senior Manager.
Earlier this month, Eskom spokesperson Isaac Mangena the team had to implement load shedding to protect infrastructure and avoid a total lockdown of the Hopefield substation. Mangena explained:
“The decision was informed by a risk assessment conducted on Hopefield substation, which pointed to a serious threat due to overloading of the network that could lead to a total blackout in areas supplied by the substation”.