Utility pilots load curtailment solution


Jacob Maroga,
Executive, Eskom
Johannesburg, South Africa — (METERING.COM) — August 3, 2007 – South African utility Eskom is piloting a load curtailment solution as one of the strategies to mitigate the impact of blackouts caused by supply shortages. The power crisis facing South Africa as a result of unprecedented load growth has resulted in power outages becoming more and more frequent, and voluntary customer load curtailment initiatives will help address the problem.

While Eskom has had interruptible load agreements in place with selected large customer groups for many years, there is now a need to scale up these programs. Enerweb, a utility-focused specialist IT solutions provider, had already implemented the demand market participation (DMP) program, where over 600 MW of load curtailment had been achieved with the cooperation of a handful of Eskom’s largest customers, but needed to find a product which could manage hundreds of customers. Itron Inc.’s Enerweb solution was chosen as the means to achieve Eskom’s curtailment objectives and is in the process of being implemented.

The idea is for any customer with flexible load (including a standby generator) ultimately to be able to participate in the program. Eskom will financially compensate customers for the kWhs removed from the network, provided that these customers have an appropriate meter enabling automated reading. The first customers are currently being piloted.   

The utility benefits of the solution include:

  • Reduction of peak demand electricity usage.
  • Wide-scale customer participation with near real time monitoring, rapid settlement and performance feedback.
  • Hedge risk exposure and energy price fluctuations mitigated.
  • Easy calculation of penalties and/or incentives for kWhs curtailed.
  • Elimination or reduction of labor-intensive participation and verification processes.