Eskom’s Load Management Pilot Project

Eskom has developed various solutions to minimise load shedding, one of these is a pilot of load limiting technology in the Lonehill and Fourways areas in Johannesburg.
Specific streets and complexes within these areas have been invited to participate in the pilot project which aims to test load limiting technology in order to avoid the need for load shedding. Residents were asked to participate and in so doing assist in minimising the possibility and inconvenience of load shedding.
City Power, eKurhuleni and Cape Town Municipality have also been approached and have shown an interest in participating in the Load Management Pilot during 2010.
The pilot project, being implemented by Eskom DSM in conjunction with 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. If successful, and based on the feedback from the selected area’s participants, the technology may be rolled out nationally.
What is load limiting?
This brand new technology will allow Eskom to limit the amount of electricity supplied to households during high-constraint periods. By stabilising the electricity network in this way, load shedding can then be avoided.
The technology also provides residential consumers with a practical tool (free of charge) for monitoring and controlling their electricity consumption. This tool or display device can be plugged into any wall socket in the home. The display device can be moved from one room to another. By switching electrical appliances on and off they can see, in real time, how their total consumption varies. Residents are thus empowered to make their own decisions about how to reduce their household’s demand for electricity.
The electricity demand display instrument or eddi that participating residents receives, shows the real-time demand of the various electrical appliances at work in eachindividual household. The supply of electricity to participating households will only be limited during load limiting periods. 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.
The pilot participants have the choice as to which appliances to use during load limit periods during the 10 day pilot period. As long as they comply with the required load limit set during the pilot period, they will not be load shed.
When a household does not comply with the load limit that was set during the pilot, that individual house is load shed. Participants are granted 3 chances to comply with the requested load limit.
Households complying with the load limit within a set timeframe will receive the lower level of power until the restriction is lifted by Eskom. After a load limiting period has ended, full power is automatically restored to that household.
How does the Electricity Demand Display Instrument (eddi) works? Click here to read more about eddi
Progress update
Cycle 1 of the load limiting pilot period took place 26 Oct to 6 Nov 2009.
During the load limiting periods (2hours a day only and not over the week end) customers had the opportunity to experience how their display unit or eddi assists them in reducing their consumption to the required 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. Participants were given 3 opportunities to comply to the limit. If they still did not comply to the limit set for that period, their power would be cut until the load limit period ends. Their power was automatically fully restored after a load limit period ended – whether they adhered to the limit or not.
The load limits set was irrespective of size of dwelling, amount of occupants or previous electricity usage. All participants experienced the same limit.
An independent behavioural study was conducted by the University of the Free State by mean 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 behaviour 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
Participants can keep the display device after the pilot is completed. They will then own a tool to manage their energy usage, and subsequently have the opportunity to save on their electricity bill.
Next Steps
Customers residing in selected complexes and streets in the Lonehill area were contacted during the end of 2009, beginning 2010 to collect their eddi and become part of the second pilot cycle.
The second 10 day load limiting pilot period is planned for the first quarter of 2010. Currently, only residents in Lonehill qualifies as a participant for this 2nd pilot period.
Kindly contact Aret le Roux via email at  if you are interested to know more about the pilot or would like to participate.
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.

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