Small-scale embedded generation

Small scale embedded generation-connecting your generator to the grid.

 

Our shift towards more integrated electricity systems and new energy solutions has seen a growing number of consumers generating and distributing their own energy via the installation of small-scale embedded generation (SSEG).  Our SSEG programme also responds to the large demand alternative clean energy which can be integrated back into the national grid.

 
 

Investing in a generator is a significant financial commitment, be sure to carefully consider the following:

Compliance to legal and regulatory frameworks, policies, and requirements for small scale embedded generation.

Compliance to Eskom and the South African Bureau of Standards’ (SABS) technical and contractual requirements

Compliance with Eskom’s safety regulations and policies to ensure the protection of people, animals and equipment.​

Generator licensing & registration 

In accordance with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), all generators either require licensing and registration, or are exempted from registration.

Generator network configurations

Our range of network configurations cater for off-grid systems as well as grid-tied connections, assisting you in exporting your power into the national grid.

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Embedded generation tariff charges

We have a selection of tariff charges that are applicable depending on your type of Small-scale embedded installation, whether you are exporting energy into the grid or not.

Application process

Our trained consultants are ready to assist you with your small-scale embedded generation application, making sure your generator is safely and legally connected.

Get in touch

08600 37566

customerservices@eskom.co.za 

Generator licensing and registration

As an independent power producer, you are required to comply with Schedule 2 (GazetteNo 43151)  of the Electricity Regulation Act which stipulates the requirements for generator licensing and registration or, exemption from registration, for your generation facility. A generation facility means the generation- and/or distribution facility located on your property and this will include all machinery, equipment, associated buildings and structures.

The following are guidelines, however you are advised to confirm with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) regarding your generator licensing and registration requirements. 

Generators exempted from licensing and registration with NERSA

  • Your generator is utilised for private use only, as a back-up source of electricity, in the case of a power outage.
  • Your generator does not have a point of connection to the distribution network.
  • Your generator, of no more than 100 kW, is connected to the grid and the electricity is for your own use only (not supplying other customers).
However, if your generator is connected to the grid, you will have to apply for a grid connection, pay the quoted fees, and sign the required Eskom agreements.
 

Generators requiring registration  

  • Your generator has a maximum capacity of 1 MW.
  • Your generator has a point of connection (whether you are exporting energy into the grid or not).
  • Your generator supplies electricity to a customer or related customer(s), even 100 kW and below.
  • Your generator is used for demonstration purposes only, for a maximum period of 36 months.
  • Your generator produces electricity from waste, or industrial residues.
  • Your generator was exempt from licensing prior to the amendment on 26 March of schedule 2  of the Electricity Regulation Act.

NERSA will require information from us to ensure that a grid connection is possible. You will have to apply to become grid-tied, pay the quoted fees, and sign the required Eskom agreements.

Generators requiring licencing

  • Any generator with a capacity above 1 MW.
  • Any generator, irrespective of size, supplying electricity to more than one non-related customer.
Exceptions:
  • A generator above 1 MW used for demonstration purposes only, for a maximum period of 36 months.
  • A generator producing electricity from waste heat.

Generator network configurations

We offer a selection of generator network configurations to suit your electricity production needs. Carefully consider the type of installation you require, as this will influence the legal, regulatory, technology standards, tariffs, and metering equipment requirements.
 

An off-the-grid systen off-the-grid system
An off-grid, or stand-alone system, does not have a point of connection that ties the generator to the Eskom electricity distribution network. The generator is therefore completely independent of the power grid and does not need an Eskom supply to work. This type of generator network configuration does not require authorisation from Eskom and is also exempt from registration with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).
 

A standby generator configuration

A standby, or back-up electrical system may or may not be grid-tied. For a grid-tied standby system, you will need to apply to Eskom to authorise the generator. Generators that are not grid-tied do not require an Eskom point of connection to work, and as such do not require Eskom authorisation. In both cases, the standby generator does not need to be registered with NERSA, subject to it only being used during electricity supply interruptions.

Installations designed to consume all the generated power (non-export)

This generator network configuration provides electricity to your property when required, is grid-tied, but designed to not export energy into the Eskom power grid.
Given that this installation is grid-tied, it will require Eskom authorisation, even though it does not export energy into the distribution network. Eskom authorisation can be obtained via application, payment of fees and signing new contracts covering the tariff, legal, regulatory and technical requirements.
The Eskom connection and use-of-system agreement will specify the maximum export capacity (MEC) at zero kW.
Tariff charges will not apply, but there may be costs incurred for the grid connection. Any export of energy will constitute a breach of the Eskom agreement and the supply may be disconnected.
Depending on the criteria set out in Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act (ERA), the generator will either require registration or licensing, or be exempted from registration with NERSA.  
Installations designed to export power into the grid
In this generator network configuration, not all generated electricity is consumed. Some or all of it is exported into the grid for the purposes of getting an energy offset credit on your account, or for wheeling the energy to another customer so they can get an energy offset credit on their account.
This type of grid-tied generator connection requires Eskom authorisation, and depending on the criteria set out in Schedule 2 of the ERA, will either require registration or licensing, or be exempted from registration with NERSA.
Eskom authorisation includes application, payment of fees and signing new contracts covering the tariff, legal, regulatory, and technical requirements.
The Eskom connection and use-of-system agreement will specify a maximum energy export capacity into the grid as determined by the customer. Tariff charges may be applicable for the exported energy, and there may be costs related to connect the generator to the national grid.

Embedded generation tariff charges

We have a selection of tariffs that are applicable depending on your type of small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) installation. The following embedded generation tariff charges apply for your specific connection:
Grid-tied generation with no exported energy:

You must be on a time-of-use (TOU) tariff or convert to the relevant TOU tariff when installing your small-scale embedded generation.

Applicable tariffs for the electricity load are:
  • For Rural – Ruraflex or Ruraflex-Gen tariff
  • For Urban – Miniflex, Megaflex-Gen tariff (>22 kVA connection) or Homeflex4

Consumption is charged using different charges for different TOU periods. Where a change of tariff is required, a new supply agreement will also be needed. This is in addition to the connection and use-of-system agreement for the new point of connection.

Grid-tied generation with exported energy:
  • The exact same embedded generation tariff charges and requirements apply as listed above for “grid-tied generation, with no exported energy”
  • In addition, tariffs for exported energy include Gen DUoS, Megaflex Gen or Ruraflex Gen

Compensation for energy exported to the grid:
  • If you export energy into the grid which is not wheeled* (transported) to another Eskom customer, then we will credit you for this energy at the Gen-offset tariff. An amendment to the electricity supply agreement is required to stipulate this offset credit.
  • If there is exported energy into the grid and this energy is wheeled* to another Eskom customer (the off-taker), then we will credit the off-taker at the Gen-wheeling tariff. An amendment to the electricity supply agreement is also required to outline this wheeled* credit.
  • All of the above is subject to either licensing or registration, or exemption from registration with NERSA.
  • All of the above is billed on a monthly basis.
  • Subject to the Eskom Energy Banking policy, we may also allow banking (carry-over of energy produced but not consumed to the next month) by the user/buyer of the energy when there is an offset or wheeling transaction.

* Wheeling is not available for generators connected at low voltage

For customers on a pre-paid supply
Our prepaid meters and metering systems are not currently able to calculate TOU and total exported energy. You will have to convert to billed metering with the appropriate TOU tariff if you are currently on a pre-payment meter.

Embedded generation application process

Small-scale embedded generation not only provides you with the opportunity to participate in the South African independent electricity generation market, but also enables you to grow your green credentials by using a renewable energy source. We have streamlined our embedded generation application process to ensure your generator is legally and safely connected to the Eskom grid.    Frequently asked questions

Cost to be grid-tied
The embedded generation application process starts with your submission form to Eskom to connect your installation to the national grid. We will then issue a quote, outlining the cost for your grid-tied connection.

The connection charges include:

  • A quotation fee
  • Metering changes
  • Any network upgrades that may be required
We will only initiate the work to authorise the connection once the quote has been accepted, the charges paid, and the relevant agreements signed.
Possible agreements to be signed
  • A new Eskom electricity supply agreement if the existing agreement is old, if there is a tariff conversion, or changes to the supply.
  • Amendments to the electricity supply agreement to activate energy offset, wheeling, or banking.
  • A connection and use-of-system agreement stipulating the conditions and obligations for the generator connection.
Small-scale embedded generation (SSEG) application process                                  SSEG process factsheet
 
Frequently Asked Questions

SSEG FAQs

SSEG, distributed generation and distributed energy resources are naming conventions used in SA. The term, SSEG, is predominantly used in Eskom as it aligns with NRS097 definitions as a guide.

Licensing and registration of generators is done by NERSA and not Eskom distribution. As long as the Eskom application process, registration and technical connection rules have been met, the owner of the SSEG is in control of the economic merits of exporting power into the grid.

All Distributors technical requirements and applicable NERSA licence or registration requirements need to be adhered to.

The respective network service provider will manage any SSEG applications within their area of supply according to their qualifying criteria. Eskom manages the grid connection criteria for the SSEG. Technical and safety considerations include but not limited to, installation size and configuration, technical response and performance of energy management system, protection and control, equipment testing, quality of supply performance and plant certification. The statuary requirements for having such plant within the customers premise is the responsibility of the owner of the premise.

NERSA manages registration or licencing of prospective SSEG connections.

Applications could be declined in the following cases:

  • The supply is not in an Eskom area of supply – however if you are in an Eskom supply area and currently do not have a supply, you can apply to become an Eskom customer.
  • The supply is on a prepayment meter which is not yet accepted, however you can convert to a conventional metered supply and continue with your application (Eskom is exploring a temporary tariff solution for urban residential applications while awaiting NERSA approval on the residential time of use tariff).
  • The supply is not on a time-of-use tariff; however, you can apply for a conversion to a time-of-use tariff. Once converted you can complete the application process for a grid connection).
  • The wheeling request is for low-voltage supply, and SSEG applications are only allowed on medium-voltage supplies. The customer can apply for an upgrade of supply to an MV supply.
  • The grid tied request is for an SSEG that exceeds 75% of load capacity on a low-voltage network. However, a customer can apply to upgrade the load capacity where possible.

All staff working on connections and quotations have been trained; however, this is not a once off exercise but a change management journey.

Yes, the connection fees are charged for the connection of the generation facility, and this fee covers the cost associated with site inspections and quality assurance on commissioning of the installation.

Applications for shared feeders are being considered on a one-on-one basis. (Eskom is exploring a temporary tariff solution for urban residential applications while awaiting NERSA approval on the residential time of use tariff).

Yes the tariff is currently on a 1 to 1 basis, but Eskom is currently in the process of reviewing this as part of the tariff restructuring and unbundling of Eskom.

The installer has to either be, or use the services of a competent person, who is professionally registered and responsible to sign a test report, in certification of the safety protection and control of the SSEG plant.

The report will indicate that the installation has been inspected, examined against the necessary design, and technical documentation are been properly installed and tested.  The technical criteria and documentation includes compliance with the Grid Codes, NRS standards, SANS standards and the applicable statutory requirements. Eskom utilises the relevant NRS (097) and SANS (10142) standards or guidelines as a base framework for safe SSEG connections.  Information on the Eskom technical standards for SSEG installations can be obtained by registering on the NRS website: https://scot.eskom.co.za and use the following steps:

Click on “Login” on the right hand corner, and a login field will appear.

Click on “New user” and fill in your details as complete as possible.

Click on “Submit”

Eskom goes through a due diligence process on every application, to ensure that staff and network safety is not compromised.

Progress feedback is available on request as Eskom is currently working on an automated SMS feedback campaign.

If the diesel generation is used as a standby system with the PV system, then there is no problem with proceeding, providing all technical, safety and statutory requirements for standby systems are fulfilled. If both the diesel generator and PV system are grid tied, then a connection application is required for both.  

Yes, they are grid tied even with no export into the grid. There is no NRS approved inverter list that Eskom manages currently. All inverters have to be type tested to NRS with required testing certification and accreditation.

SANS 10142 -1 covers the LV wiring for all installations. UPS systems are not synchronised with the grid and UPS installation configurations and protection are covered by SANS.

Application process

If all the required information and documentation are supplied timeously and required fees are paid, a
quotation can be issued between 30 and 90 days. Click here link for more information.

It depends on the scope of work. The connection time line will be indicated on the quotation.

Eskom has to make sure that all the technical, statutory and safety requirements are met.
Click here for more information

Each application will be evaluated based on its merits and will be quoted based on its individual
requirements.
Click here for more information

Yes, various options exist. Options available include: the call centre, MyEskom Customer App, SMS,
email, your customer executive, CS-Online. For detail go to Eskom’s website.
Click here for more information

Each connection has different technical requirements and therefore different cost implications.
Click here for more information

Customers wanting to be completely off the grid should apply for termination of their supply as per the
conditions of their contract.

Yes, but this applies only to stand-alone systems.

Technical rules

This is the maximum capacity allowed for a 500kVA transformer, which is the biggest Eskom LV
transformer for new supplies. For generators greater than 350kW, the customer should own the
transformer so that they can manage the size of the transformer needed.

  • The 350kW limit is applied in the application of Standard charges and in compliance to the Simple
    Connection Criteria as per NRS-0970-2-3.
  • Any application on MV or >350kW on LV, will be quoted on actual costing.
  • The 350kW limit is as per NRS 097 -2 -3. It was determined that this is the maximum safe capacity
    allowed for a 500kVA transformer.

For all overhead line networks where there is a bulk supply to the customer at MV, Eskom will require
the installation of a re-closer if there is not one installed already.

No, the customer must be on a TOU tariff with an appropriate meter.

Yes, the total generation capacity supplied by all SSEGs on the feeder should be less than 15% of the
MV feeder’s peak load.

Yes, all generator installations that are grid tied to the Eskom network need permission from Eskom
before a grid tie can be made.

Any grid-tied connection without Eskom permission is deemed unauthorized and Eskom will require the
SSEG to be disconnected and a tamper fee maybe issued and lost revenue recovered. Customers are
required to apply to Eskom to be grid tied.

The following are broad-based principles:

  • The generator has to be within the required size limits based on the supply point provided by Eskom.
  • he metering should be able to measure the consumed energy and any energy that is exported into
    the grid.
  • The installation will have to be tested and certified by a competent person who is registered as a
    professional for these types of installations.
  • The equipment used should be tested against specific national guidelines as contained in the NRS
    097 -2 -1 document.

The following are the actual standards that are applicable:

  • NRS 097-2-1 GRID INTERCONNECTION OF EMBEDDED GENERATION Part 2: Small-scale
    embedded generation Section 1: Utility interface.
  • NRS 097-2-3 GRID INTERCONNECTION OF EMBEDDED GENERATION Part 2: Small-scale
    embedded generation Section 2: Simplified utility connection criteria for low-voltage connected
    generators.
  • South African Distribution Code.
  • SANS 10142-1 & SANS 10142-1-2.
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act, (Act 85 of 1993) and requirement for a COC.
  • Operating Guideline for LV networks with Embedded Generation (Unique ID: 240-81732810)
    and The Dead-Grid Safety lock specification and minimum safety requirements for LV
    connected PV Embedded Generators (Unique ID: 240-126260252).

Information on these standards can be obtained by registering on the NRS website:
https://scot.eskom.co.za and following these steps:

  1. Click on “Login” in the right-hand corner, and a login field will appear.
  2. Click on “New user” and fill in your details as completely as possible.
  3. Click on “Submit”

Agreements with Eskom

If your supply has been legally connected and you are on a generator tariff, then Eskom will give credits
based on the offset rate for the energy exported into the grid.

Yes. To do this the points of delivery (PODs) / premises have to be consolidated into one account. The
rules for allowing consolidation are:

  • Only points of delivery (PODs) that are on the same feeder can be consolidated into one
    account.
  • The owner of the account must be the same person or company.
  • All the PODs must be on a time-of-use tariff.

For more information click here

For PODs that are not on the same feeder, a wheeling agreement can be used, but the POD has to be
connected on medium voltage (MV) or high voltage (HV) because wheeling is not allowed on low-voltage
(LV) networks. Eskom is also evaluating limiting the number of PODs linked to an account, due to the
increasing administration burden.

To be grid-tied, the generator needs to belong to an existing Eskom customer.

  • Whether the generator is intending to export onto the grid, or not, Eskom will still need to ensure that
    the connection is legal (registration, grid code compliance and adherence to technical standards);
    that the tariff is a time-of-use (TOU) tariff option and appropriate meters are installed.
  • If non-adherence to the terms and conditions is evident, corrective action is taken (in the form of
    remedial action i.e. Eskom will require the SSEG to be disconnected and a tamper fee maybe issued
    and lost revenue recovered).

Yes, but wheeling is only allowed for accounts with an MV supply, – terms and conditions (T&Cs) apply.
Refer to question 2.

Yes, Authorised customers have various export options, but permission is required.

Yes, a bi-directional meter that measures energy on a time-of-use basis is required and is installed by
Eskom.

Eskom will require the customer to have the following:

  • The latest Electricity Supply Agreement (ESA).
  • A NERSA registration letter for supplies greater than 100kW.
  • A connection and use of system agreement (also called a supplementary agreement to the ESA).
  • An amendment agreement, if needed, for offset or banking of energy.
  • Click here for more information

Cost considerations

This information will assist in the assessment of the merit of the application which is done on a case by
case basis.

There are no Eskom incentives but there are however benefits by using the grid as a battery. These are
supported with tariff options for the surplus energy exported into the grid.

Each customer will need to assess his/her own return on investment.

Safety

Grid connected machines change the power flow on the Eskom network. If the operators do not know
the existence of the generators, this poses a safety risk even with a carefully controlled operations
process. The safety requirements require that Eskom gives permission for the SSEG to be grid tied.

Please consult with your supplier.

Tariffs

Eskom does not pay for the energy, however customers will receive credit on their bill for the electricity
exported onto the grid under the Gen-offset tariff. This is done per time–of-use (TOU) period and is
limited to the energy consumed in a month. There is an option for customers with SSEG up to 1MW to
roll over the excess energy onto the next month under the banking policy, subject to conditions in the
policy. Refer to the presentation on the website for more information. Click here

There are options for either wheeling of exported energy or consolidation of PODs (points of delivery),
subject to all prevailing policy, legal and regulatory requirements being adhered to. Click here for more information:

There are no additional administration charges for non-exporting customers other than the standard
connection charges to be grid tied and conversion to a TOU tariff click here for more information.

General

A generator wheeling on the Eskom network will pay applicable tariff charges (network charges,
administration charges, etc.) as stipulated in the schedule of standard charges (or Tariff book) available
on the Eskom website. Click here for more information

It depends on the network connection.
Under the current rules:

  • For MV each application will be assessed individually.
  • The total generation that can be installed is based on the notified maximum demand (NMD). The total generation is always less than 75% of NMD, with an upper limit of 350kW for LV Eskom
    supplies.

Note: The application to Eskom must include all grid-tied generation (total generation = solar system
inclusive of batteries).

Yes. The types of SSEG that Eskom allow applications for are:

  • Wind generation.
    Photovoltaic generation (PV).Biomass generation.
  • Biogas generation.
  • Hydro generation.
  • Diesel generation.
  • Battery generation.
  • Fuel cells.
  • Tidal and geo-thermal generation.

Yes, it will reduce pressure on the grid when volumes of SSEG increase, but in order to stop load
shedding there will have to be many combinations of generation solutions.

The control of machinery is possible. Controls such as programmable logic controller (PLC) controls can
achieve this. But you would have to contact suppliers of this type of equipment.

A generator is a machine that converts energy to electricity. The source of the energy could come from a
variety of fuels or energy sources like diesel, wind, solar irradiance from the sun, stored or moving water
systems.

There are generators that are owned, operated and maintained by property owners or tenants and which
supply some or all of their electrical power requirements. Non-Eskom owned generation refers to all
generation that is owned by these property owners or tenants, including those within municipal areas.

This is a category of customer-owned generation that is less than 1MW (1000kW) in electrical power
size and is connected to the Eskom network click here for more information

The reasons are diverse, ranging from financial benefits in terms of paying less to the supply authority, to
operational benefits such as avoiding loadshedding and loss of supply from the grid due to planned and
unplanned maintenance on the supply authority’s grid.

Municipalities have their own rules for connection and associated costs. Please consult with your
municipality if your electricity is supplied by them.

A grid-tied generator is a generator that is operating in parallel to the Eskom network i.e. it is
synchronised to the Eskom network. A grid-tied generator needs the Eskom network to be on, in order to
work. Eskom does not allow the connection of any SSEGs that can function in a hybrid mode where it
can operate both parallel and non-parallel with the Eskom grid by means of electronic controls.

A stand-alone generator works when the Eskom network is off, or supplies a section of the customer
plant not being supplied by Eskom.

An Independent Power Producer (IPP) is a generator greater than 1MW and is handled by Grid Access.
An SSEG is a supply less than 1 MW and is handled by Eskom Distribution – Customer Service.

Due to the risk of excess generation on the networks for generators above 1MW, a blanket approval for
banking is not allowed in the Banking of Energy policy. This will need to be approved on a case-by-case
basis by the Eskom Customer Service Pricing Committee. If allowed, it will only be limited to infrequent
and inadvertent over-generation i.e. not every month or more than 2 consecutive months. The customer
should demonstrate that it would generally absorb the generated energy itself or deliver to another load.
If any of the above conditions are not met, all energy exported in a billing month will be forfeited click here for more information.

Eskom charges for the use of the system related to exported energy, plus if any wheeling, offset or
banking is done, additional administration charges are charged click here for more information.

Yes, currently the offset rate is the same as the energy consumption rate in kWh. This might change in
the future, and the updated rates would be applicable upon NERSA’s approval of the new rates.

No, the credits on the offset agreement are only on the energy (kWh) per TOU and do not reduce the
other tariff rates click here for more information.

The current TOU periods are shown above – if you can manage load according to these time periods and
cut consumption during the morning and evening peaks you will save. There are various energy efficient
technologies that can be installed to reduce or stop energy consumption. The production processes
would have to be evaluated to determine energy efficient technology options click here for more information.

No, banking of energy is only allowed for customers on a Time-Of-Use tariff. Click here for more information

Customers will receive credit on their bill for the energy exported onto the grid under the Gen-offset tariff.
This is done per time-of-use (TOU) period. To be credited, you will be required to have a legal
connection and sign an amendment agreement to the supply agreement. Click here for more information.

Energy generated by the customer’s SSEG and which is not used by the customer, will flow out through
the meter into the Eskom grid. Specially programmed bi-directional meters can measure this excess
energy flowing out of the customer’s premises through the meter. Click here for more information.

Self-consumption – There is no energy that a customer is exporting into the grid i.e. all the energy that is generated by the SSEG is used by the customer.
Offset – The customer exports electricity into the grid and a credit is given to the customer. The customer cannot offset more than the net energy that he has used per time-of-use category (peak, standard, off-peak) for that month.
Banking – This is the surplus exported energy that is carried over to offset the next month’s consumption per TOU period. (Applicable for Eskom’s Financial year – April to March).
All the above options are considered to be grid tied and need to follow the process and adhere to the
technical requirements. Click here for more information.

Currently Eskom does not consolidate generator points.