Conference: Smart Grids Africa
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Presenter: Graeme Mellis
Abstract: Presented by Graeme Mellis at Smart Grids Africa

South Africa is certainly not the first country to experience an energy crisis. We need look no further for historical examples than the famous California electricity crisis of 2000 and 2001. While the causes of this crises were quite different to those of the current South African one, the results were similar, the crises led to a shortage in energy and therefore, blackouts. Rolling blackouts began in June 2000 and recurred several times in the following 12 months.

In 2001 drought created an energy crisis in Brazil, which is strongly dependent on hydroelectric power and also the third-largest consumer of electricity in the Western Hemisphere. As of 2002 the country’s per capital energy consumption was equal to that of all other South and Central American countries combined. From June 2001 through March 2002, power was rationed allowing the country to avoid rolling blackouts.

Europe, although not currently experiencing an energy crises, is also actively exploring methods to increase energy efficiency in compliance with their Kyoto obligation on CO2 emissions and to improve security of their electricity supply.

This article explores some of the lessons learned from these and other countries and in particular how Smart Metering technology has been implemented as a tool to effectively manage the electricity supply industries in these areas.