Tag: loadshedding

Eskom caught lying about load-shedding

Source: MyBroadband

Eskom has admitted to exceeding stage 4 load-shedding limits, which energy advisor Ted Blom said shows the power utility is lying about which stage they have implemented.

This year, South Africa experienced the worst load-shedding it has ever seen, with 49 days of blackouts to date.

According to Eskom’s announcements, load-shedding peaked at stage 4, but Blom highlighted that the power utility exceeded stage 4 in September.

Official information shared by Eskom showed load-shedding of 5 359MW on Wednesday 2 September and 5 642MW on Thursday 3 September.

This far exceeds stage 4 load-shedding, which “allows for up to 4 000MW of the national load to be shed”.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha denied accusations that Eskom is deliberately deceiving the public on which load-shedding stages it is implementing.

He confirmed the accuracy of the load-shedding statistics published on 2 and 3 September but said load curtailment should also be taken into consideration.

“Once Eskom declares Stage 4 load-shedding, it can request any major industrial customer to curtail up to 20% of load,” Mantshantsha said.

“This amounts to 1 200MW of demand that must be curtailed by industrial customers as part of the licenced load curtailment in terms.”

“Load-shedding is what Eskom sheds from the public, and that is what Eskom announced at Stage 4 on Thursday.”

However, when pushed on the amount of load-shedding which truly happened on Thursday, Mantshantsha said “Eskom did shed 4,400MW on the day in question”.

This equates to stage 5 load-shedding based on Eskom’s own definitions. Mantshantsha, however, would not answer the question on whether the power utility implemented stage 5 load-shedding.

It is not clear why Eskom refused to admit it implemented stage 5 load-shedding, as this could cause confusion among consumers.

Blom accused Eskom of being deceitful in its answers and trying to downplay the severity of load-shedding in South Africa.

Eskom’s load-shedding stage definitions
Eskom explains the different load-shedding stages on its website and in the documentation it provides to the public and municipalities.

Here are the current load-shedding definitions for Stage 1 to Stage 8:

Stage 1 allows for up to 1,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 2 allows for up to 2,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 3 allows for up to 3,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 4 allows for up to 4,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 5 allows for up to 5,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 6 allows for up to 6,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 7 allows for up to 7,000 MW of the national load to be shed.
Stage 8 allows for up to 8,000 MW of the national load to be shed.

According to these definitions, and after taking 1,200MW load curtailment into account, stage 5 load-shedding was implemented on 2 September and 3 September.

The table below provides an overview of the load-shedding implemented in the beginning of September.

Blom said there is a “massive difference between being forced to shed 4,000MW (13%) of total demand and 6,000MW (20%)”.

“If the power utility is short of 20% of the economy’s need it is a national disaster and requires an immediate intervention,” he said.

According to Blom, Eskom has lied to the public on load-shedding days this year and on the level of load-shedding.

He added that Eskom is also not telling the truth on how long the reconditioning program will take and the level of reconditioning done during lockdown level 5.

“In short, the public has branded Eskom as pathological liars with many examples over the last decade,” said Blom.

Blom said Eskom’s leadership should take extra precautions to ensure they are “100% factually correct and stop playing cat and mouse with the public”.

Loadshedding reappears, stages may worsen

Eskom announced Stage 2 load-shedding will continue on Wednesday from 8am to 10pm.

The power utility said the breakdown of multiple units resulted in the power system being constrained.

“With the unreliable and aged generation infrastructure, together with a number of risks on running units, there is a high possibility that additional stages of load-shedding may be implemented at short notice,” read a statement from Eskom.

A generator each broke down at Arnot, Medupi, Lethabo, Matla powerstations, while two units each at Majuba, Camden and Tutuka powerstations also broke down.
This, together with the need to conserve emergency generation reserves, necessitated that loadshedding be implemented in order to protect the integrity of the system.

Eskom is urging customers to reduce electricity usage to ease the strain on the system. The current loadshedding stage could be moved up at short notice.

Eskom begins Stage 2 loadshedding 

By Mia Lindeque for Eyewitness News

Eskom says its implementing stage two loadshedding at 8 am.

The utility says it’s battling with several breakdowns of generation units at its plants, which have taken 2 0000 megawatts off the grid.

The blackouts are expected to last until at least 10 pm.

However, Eskom is warned of a high possibility it may ramp up loadshedding to stage three for the evening peak period.

Eskom’s Sikonathi Mantshantsha said: “Eskom regrets informing the country that starting from 8 am this morning, we will have to implement loadshedding stage 2. This is due to the increase in breakdowns overnight and this morning. We will be implementing stage 2 loadshedding, as we have had additional breakdowns overnight.”

Tens of thousands of people on the west rand, the Vaal and Soweto had their power cut at 5am already.

Eskom says its implemented so-called “load reduction” in these areas to prevent network overloading.

Power was expected to be restored to these communities at 9 am, and it’s not yet clear how loadshedding will impact them after that.

 

Like a seriously unwelcome – but all-too-familiar – guest, loadshedding has returned.

To help South Africans get through the powerless days and dark nights, Orlando Luis, CEO of Brights Hardware, shares a list of eight must-have items that will keep your home (and office spaces) functional during a power outage.

Battery-powered LED lighting

“Battery-powered LED lighting is essential during power outages,” says Luis. “There is a wide range of rechargeable LED light strips, lanterns, and torches available that make keeping the lights on during loadshedding easy. You can even get a rechargeable LED desk lamp so that the kids can continue doing their homework during evening power cuts.”

Another great item to have in the home are intelligent LED light bulbs. These bulbs come in either a screw or bayonet configuration and can be used like a standard light bulb in any light fixture but they stay on during load-shedding as they hold charge for up to four hours.

Solar lighting

In addition to rechargeable and battery operated solutions, there is a wide range of solar powered lighting on the market today. These range from spot lights/security lights to solar lanterns, garden lighting and even pool lights.

“Solar powered lighting is a great solution in a sun-rich country such as ours,” advises Luis “There is no cost to recharge them, and many are practically “set and forget” and will come on automatically after sun down.”

Gas stove/cooker

Boiling water and getting meals prepared during power outages is impossible without a gas stove or cooker. Thankfully there are many different options available to consumers today – whether it is a large six plate gas hob and oven or just a simple, portable table-top one or two-plate gas cooker – and many more options in between.

“Many people are choosing to change their ovens over from electrical to gas. Not only does this mean you can carry on your dinner preparations during a power outage, but your electricity bill will also be reduced through the introduction of gas appliances,” says Luis.

Portable power bank

We all want to stay connected, especially in the dark. No electricity coupled with no means of communication is not a great combination.

“Portable power banks are a fantastic solution to ensure that you don’t run out of cell phone battery life,” advises Luis. “These compact gadgets can also charge other devices such as tablets, portable modems and speakers.”

Surge protector

It is a good idea to purchase a surge protector for your home or office. A surge protector is an electrical device that is used to protect equipment against power surges and voltage spikes that can be caused by power cuts.

“Surge protection can range from plug and play devices to systems installed at the distribution board by a registered electrician.”

Luis goes on to caution that some household insurance policies stipulate that they will not cover damage caused through power surges if the proper surge protection is not in place – “it is worth checking with your insurance provider.”

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power. A UPS differs from a generator in that it will provide near-instantaneous protection from power interruptions by supplying energy stored in batteries. It is a type of continual power system.

“A UPS is typically used to protect hardware such as computers, data centers, telecommunication equipment or other electrical equipment where an unexpected power disruption could cause injuries, fatalities, serious business disruption or data loss.”

Generator

If budget allows, investing in a generator is a great way to make power outages less intrusive. “There are many different models and options to consider,” says Luis. “Entry level 2 stroke generators, such as a 950-watt unit, are unreliable if the petrol/oil mixture is not consistent, so Brights recommends starting with no lower than a 4 stroke 1200-watt generator.”

Inverters

This then introduces the question – what about people who live in complexes and housing estates that are not allowed to run a generator because of the noise pollution?

Luis says that the best option here is to purchase a pure sine wave inverter with batteries. All these units are silent except for the cooling fan which blows on the side. They also switch on automatically during load shedding.

Source: News24

Power utility Eskom has asked the public to reduce electricity usages after a number of generation units tripped, leading to a constrained power supply.

“This morning one generation unit each at the Kendal and Tutuka power stations tripped, adding to the Tutuka unit that tripped yesterday evening,” it said, adding that teams are working to return these units to service.

A generation unit at Medupi that tripped on Tuesday evening has been returned to service.

“Any additional breakdowns will compromise Eskom’s ability to supply the country through the peak demand period of 17:00 – 21:00. This constrained supply situation may persist through the weekend. ”

Eskom has not instituted nationwide load shedding since the start of the lockdown in late March after power usage plunged as much of the economy was shut down. But it has been cutting power to localised areas in what it calls load reduction.

In a recent interview with MyBroadband, energy expert Ted Blom said he expects that as mining and smelting come back online under new lockdown regulations, the heavy demand increases could see Eskom face problems as soon as next week.

As the country heads into winter, a lack of maintenance due to hard lockdown and problems associated with reactivating disabled power units “will result in heavy load-shedding”, Blom said. He expects “transformers to blow up and boilers to malfunction”.

“I would not be surprised if we see the worst load-shedding we have ever seen by the end of June,” he said.

Eskom has a number of issues:

  • Under Level 4 regulations, heavy industries such as mining and smelting are coming back online
  • The utility will need to reactivate generation units which were turned off due to the significant drop in electricity demand – of 10-12GW – caused by the national lockdown
  • They have not conducted extensive maintenance on infrastructure during the lockdown period, and cannot increase its generation capacity
  • The utility is expected to need another bailout, which the country can ill-afford

Blom says that, although new CEO Andre De Ruyter stated the new maintenance model should take around 18 months, the Eskom executive has drastically misconstrued the scope of the problem – and that it would take longer than five years to resolve Eskom’s reliability issues.

By Natasha Odendaal for Creamer Media

Telecommunications group Vodacom South Africa plans to accelerate its network spend over the next two months.

Over R500-million has been set aside to add network capacity and increase network resilience during South Africa’s lockdown period and to help cope with any possible load-shedding.

This will include accelerating the installation of smart energy management solutions and supplementary network capacity.

“Vodacom is doing everything possible to ensure that we maintain our network service quality during this unprecedented time, with a notable increase in traffic already under way,” says Vodacom Group CTO Andries Delport.

“We are monitoring all traffic patterns daily and prioritising key network upgrades to add capacity and maintain the quality of services delivered to our customers where required,” he continued.

Vodacom is experiencing sustained peak traffic patterns for almost the entire day as South Africans are dependent on the network to stay in touch, work from home and keep entertained.

Prior to the lockdown, traffic typically peaked during certain hours of the day.

Vodacom expects network traffic to increase even further as customers connect for longer after it implemented price cuts of up to 40% on its 30-day data bundles and launched a range of free essential services available through its zero-rated ConnectU platform on 1 April, Delport added.

Vodacom also welcomed the temporary allocation of currently unused spectrum to help operators cope with the increased traffic demand.

Vodacom has applied to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa for temporary spectrum and is now awaiting the evaluation of the application.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to gain temporary access to spectrum to enable additional capacity to be added in the quickest and most cost-effective manner as traffic increases further.”

By Sinenhlanhla Jalibane for The MediaShop

Loadshedding has once again become one of the most used buzzwords in South Africa. While we wait for government to attain a better solution to their “technical problems” and revert with plans to overcome this crisis, loadshedding continues to have dire implications on everyone, particularly for television advertisers and broadcasters.

Advertising budgets have already been reduced but now with the power out, what does this mean for advertisers, and the media industry in general?

1. Viewership decreases

Television indisputably remains the largest media consumption channel in South Africa. It is still the most effective way of reaching a higher number of audiences at a high frequency. However, it is no secret that such media platforms are highly affected by loadshedding.

Viewership is a client’s first concern when there is a blackout. It means that millions of South African TV households are off, reducing the potential TV audience of a particular channel or programme which has a huge effect for advertisers.

We have been experiencing stage 2 and 4 of loadshedding recently. With that said, it is imperative to remember that having these power cuts means not reaching a household for at least two or more hours during each blackout. This is of serious concern especially when power is cut during prime time, which decreases viewership even more significantly. It results in adverts only being seen by a handful of people, who might not even be the target audience for the brand being advertised, which is then seen as wastage by many.

Britta Reid commented on a research article in 2019 published on The MediaOnline from The Broadcast Research Council, on how adult ARs for the 18h00 and 20h00 dayparts were affected. She commented that about 2% of adults on the BRC TAMS panel were flagged as having experienced power cuts during stage two, compared with 15% of adults during stage four . This equates to a huge number of audiences being lost due to loadshedding and it doesn’t seem like it will get any better.

2. Concern over reach

Secondly, clients have become sceptical about whether their brand will be seen by the right audiences as loadshedding makes it difficult to plan schedules. I remember once when Eskom had promised two hours of loadshedding but it went off for 3h30mins. This left me wondering how many TV adverts were being aired during this time that I would have missed.

Clients will (if they haven’t already) start questioning the value they are getting from advertising if they lose audiences during loadshedding.

Yes brands are aware that performance will be affected (not that they’re happy about it) but there is unfortunately nothing that marketers and broadcasters can do at this point, as it is beyond their control.

3. Even digital is affected

Lastly, cell phone network coverage has also been getting disrupted and it seems this will continue to be the case during our electricity crisis. It’s making our jobs as marketers even more difficult. Just as we were trying to chase audiences in the digital space, it is now going to be harder to reach them whenever we’d like to.

We all love our smartphones, but their battery life is not as great as we’d like it to be. Power banks and portal chargers can help sustain battery life, but with port connectivity it seems like it would be a struggle to get advertising messages across audiences.

People would also rather save their battery to ensure for instance that their alarm wakes them up in the morning, rather than to scroll through their phones only to come across adverts that will deplete their battery even further.

So what do we do?

While the country has enjoyed a few days of no loadshedding now, there is still an unnerving sense of uncertainty around Eskom’s sustainability. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his SONA 2020 address that the Eskom issue was unavoidable. This shows that we’ve got a long way to go and for brands, we need to think of alternative ways to reach our audiences.

It seems like the old school “wireless” radios would be of good use at this point for people to still consume news during loadshedding and this, without a doubt will cause an increase in listenership on the radio.

Maybe it’s also time to put more faith into apps such as EskomSePush to plan around most areas that are experiencing loadshedding to ensure audiences are not lost. Imagine scheduling adverts to be aired on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the same peak time as loadshedding is scheduled? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Loadshedding cost SA R59bn in 2019

New data released by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has indicated that South Africa suffered a 2019 loss of between R59bn and R118bn due to loadshedding.

According to the CSIR, the 530 hours of unplanned power cuts during the year occurred at a higher intensity than previous years, including an unprecedented move to Stage 6 loadshedding in December. More energy – approximately 1 352 Gigawatt hours (GWh) – was shed during 2019 than previous years.

The percentage of time that Eskom’s power plants were able to produce electricity was at just 67%.

“Historical fleet EAF decline seems irreversible,” stated the presentation’s authors.

Loadshedding is expected to continue for two to three years, depending on key decisions and actions by government.

The CSIR presentation set out various scenarios for South Africa to ensure the supply of power in the current decade. A key response to start to close the “energy supply gap” is to let businesses, private citizens, mins and farms produce their own electricity.

Prepare for Stage 8, says Eskom

By Mia Lindeque for EWN

Several municipalities have not yet communicated their plan with Eskom should the power company implement stage eight load shedding.

Last month, the utility implemented stage 6 rolling blackouts, which caught residents, businesses and municipalities off guard.

The state-owned entity has since held meetings with municipalities to encourage them to update their emergency plans to make provision for even darker days.

Eskom’s Dikatso Mothae said while the risk of stage eight load shedding was low, municipalities must be prepared.

“In terms of planning purposes, we have to make sure that those schedules are available. We have engaged municipalities, asking that they do the same.”

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