Electricity usage patterns explained

It’s the end of a long day; you’ve just come home from work, made dinner, put a load of washing on and are just settling down in front of the TV for some evening viewing. For many South African households, this is a typical evening routine. It is during this time that South Africa’s electricity network is under the biggest strain – it is also known as the evening peak demand.

So, what is peak demand?

Electricity demand varies depending on the time of the day, day of the week or the seasons. For example, when people get home from work or start the evening routine, electricity demand often spikes as everyone turns on the lights and gets dinner started around the same time. This period of peak demand tends to occur when millions of households are using their appliances for cooking, bathing, heating in winter (and cooling in summer), lighting and entertainment all at the same time. 

In South Africa, peak demand periods occur in the mornings from 6am to 9am and in the early evenings from 5pm to 9pm. The evening peak is generally as a result of the impact of residential consumers. Winter usually sees a significant increase in the evening peaks and this is as a result of many people switching on their heaters.

Eskom has therefore re-launched the televised Power Alert initiative which informs the public about the real time status of the electricity network and empowers consumers to assist in balancing the supply and demand of electricity. The Power Alert system provides a real-time link into the four television broadcasters – SABC, etv, DStv – as well as Open View. The colour-coded alerts inform residential electricity users if the system is either stable, or under severe pressure. If under severe pressure, the public is requested to turn off “all unnecessary electrical appliances such as lights, geysers, pool pumps and non-essential appliances”.

So please remember to keep an eye out for and respond to the real-time Power Alert messages on SABC, etv and DStv to help manage the strain on the electricity system. Together we can make a difference and keep the lights on. Click here for more information.
Other media release articles you might find interesting:
– Swimming pool maintenance click here
– Hot water management click here