Cape Times

Experts attribute pause to reduced demand over Easter

- YOGASHEN PILLAY yogashen.pillay@inl.co.za

ENERGY experts have cautioned consumers against celebratin­g the nine days the country has gone without load shedding, saying this is a result of lower demand over the Easter weekend rather than an improvemen­t in the Energy Availabili­ty Factor (EAF).

The EAF refers to the percentage of available power that is being generated by the power utility.

Energy expert Clyde Mallinson said there had been reduced demand over the Easter period.

“This has resulted in no load shedding in the past days. There has been a slight improvemen­t in the coal fleet but I wouldn’t say that is cause for celebratio­n, as Eskom still needs to look at ways to add more capacity to the grid.”

Mallinson said there had also been a reduction in the amount of planned maintenanc­e.

“It’s normal for Eskom to cool down on planned maintenanc­e during this time of the year as we are heading into the winter months and that does result in less load shedding.

“Without planned maintenanc­e there is at least 5 000MW available and that does make a difference. The other thing is that if you look at the Christmas holiday period annually and the Easter weekend there is normally a huge drop in the demand for electricit­y.”

Energy expert Professor Wikus van Niekerk of Stellenbos­ch University agreed that less demand had resulted in the suspension of load shedding. However, he feels that the system remains fragile.

“I don’t think there has been a significan­t improvemen­t in the Energy Availabili­ty Factor. The system is still not reliable enough, and even with the election coming I don’t think we would be able to suspend load shedding for a long period of time.”

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