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Load management pilot project

Load management pilot project

 

Manage your consumption and stay powered up

Eskom have embarked on an exciting pilot project to enable consumers to become more energy aware and efficient. The pilot project, which is being implemented by Eskom DSM in conjunction with the Eskom Research and Innovation Department (ERID) and EON Consulting, is part of a rigorous programme to assess the effectiveness of new load limiting technology in controlling residential demand. Depending on the outcome of the pilot, the technology will be rolled out nationally.

A smart grid network was installed in sections in the Fourways area, Gauteng. Streets and complexes were chosen based on its suitable electricity network infrastructure rather than its geographic location. Customers residing in these specific streets and complexes have been invited to participate in the pilot project by collecting an electricity demand display instrument or eddi at no cost.

The free display instrument or eddi that participants receive, displays the real-time demand of the various electrical appliances at work in his or her individual household. In addition, the system can be used to limit the supply to participating households when there is a constraint on the national grid. The load limits will be based on the power reductions required by Eskom's National Control Centre to maintain the stability of the electricity network.

Benefits of load limit technology

By stabilising the electricity network through load limits, load shedding can be avoided. Controlling demand via load limiting technology is a practical and feasible alternative to load shedding (black outs).

The display device or eddi assists the customer in making a decision which appliances he or she wants to switch off so as to ensure that their total electricity consumption stays within the prescribed limit for that period. It is the customer's choice which appliance to have on or off.

Benefits of using eddi during a load limit period

√ eddi warns you when a load limit is in progress by making a beeping sound if your consumption is exceeding the load limit

√ eddi warns you when you are over the limit by displaying red lights

√ You have 3 chances to comply with the limit.

√ Comply with the limit by switching off appliances of your choice. When you switch off appliances you can physically see the reduction in consumption on your eddi

√ Your power stays on - it does not matter if your neighbour does not comply, you will still have some power if you comply

√ If you miss a chance to comply with the limit (for whatever reason) you can put your own power back on by simply sending an SMS to a number displayed on your eddi.

√ Your power will be re-connected within 1 minute.

√ Households complying with the load limit within a set timeframe will receive the lower level of power until the restriction is lifted by Eskom.

√ When a household does not comply with the load limit that was set during a load limit period, that individual home's power is cut. Customers are granted 3 chances (in each load limit period) to comply with the requested load limit.

√ After a load limiting period has ended, full power is automatically restored to that household - whether you complied to the load limit or not.  

 

Further benefits during load limit periods

√ When a load limit is in progress, the eddi screen displays the exact time a load limit period will start and end. You can therefore plan your day accordingly.

√ By managing consumers individually critical electricity users, such as hospitals, police stations, schools, guard houses, traffic lights, etc., stay on when there is a power constraint in progress.

√ Customers have a choice as to which appliances to use during load limit periods

 

Benefits of using eddi on a daily basis

Customers are given a measurement tool to determine the energy efficiency of appliances on a daily basis. As you switch appliances on or off in your home, the bar graph and watt reading will go up or down accordingly. This allows you to see your electricity consumption continuously through the day and night, leading to a more energy efficient lifestyle, thereby causing a reduction in your electricity bill.

 

Creating awareness about how much power is being used leads to a culture of energy saving.

√ You can now visibly track the appliance that is the main cause for your energy bill to soar. By seeing the consumption of your current appliances you may opt for more energy efficient ones instead.

√ You can experiment and actually see what the difference in your electricity consumption is when boiling water in the microwave compared to boiling water in a kettle. Do you really know how much power your fridge or television is using?   Don't guess. Let eddi show you.

√ In addition, your power utility will be able to send you warning messages regarding planned outages due to routine maintenance. These messages will be displayed on your eddi.

√ If you need to move eddi for some reason, it can simply be plugged into another wall socket in your home.

 

Progress update

The first cycle of the load limiting pilot took place from 26 Oct to 6 Nov 2009 in Lonehill (Gauteng). During pre-planned load limiting periods, customers had the opportunity to experience how their display unit or eddi assists them in reducing their consumption to a specified load limit. They could also familiarise themselves with sending a blank SMS and re-connecting their own power (with no human intervention) if they were unable to comply with the load limit. The load limits were set irrespective of size of dwelling, number of occupants or previous electricity use.

An independent behavioral study was conducted by the University of the Free State by means of telephonic questionnaires before as well as after the load limiting period. Based on the findings it can be concluded that the pilot group:

  • experienced the display device (eddi) in a very positive way

  • consumer behavior quickly adapted to the display device

  • demonstrated a greater awareness of electricity consumption after using eddi

  • demonstrated confidence in using eddi

  • firmly believe that they can save on electricity by using the display device

  • will use eddi as an alternative to load shedding

  • will encourage the roll-out of the display device.

The technical lessons learnt during these load limit periods, informed the ongoing improvement of the technology resulting in an upgrade of the load limiting system. These technical improvements, however, meant an upgrade of eddi as well, which is currently being carried out. In addition, distribution box upgrades were done in the Fourways, Dainfern, Douglasdale and Magaliessig areas (Gauteng) to accommodate the load management system. Residents in these areas are systematically being invited to collect their free display devices or eddi.

Metros

City Power, eThekwini (Natal) and the City of Cape Town Municipality have also been approached and customers in specific selected pilot sites joined the Load Management Pilot during the end of 2010 and beginning 2011.

If you are interested in knowing more about the load limiting pilot or to find out if your street or complex is falling in the pilot area, kindly contact Aret le Roux via email at Lrouxar@eskom.co.za.

Your safety is our priority. At no point in the installation process will access to participants' homes be required. Residents in the pilot area should not allow anyone claiming to be from Eskom into their homes. Furthermore, certified installation technicians installing back-end technology in the substations in the area will be clearly identified by ID cards.