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No blackouts foreseen but use power wisely

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Old 14-04-2014, 01:00 PM   #1
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Lightbulb No blackouts foreseen but use power wisely

As the country heads into the winter months, power utility Eskom, which does not foresee rolling blackouts, has urged the public to be energy efficient.

“We are still busy with our maintenance [of power plants] plan but we are cutting back naturally at this time of the year as the demand for electricity increases but at this stage everything is under control. If we do have a problem in winter it will be for a short sharp peak in the evening. It’s not a rolling blackout scenario,” Eskom acting spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said on Monday.

He was speaking at a New Age breakfast briefing in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Eskom, he said, was in “good shape at this stage”, but that the system was tight and that energy efficiency is an important aspect to keep the lights on.

Earlier on, Energy Minister Ben Martins said that energy security is a pertinent issue, adding that energy efficiency is important. The rollout of alternative power will help, he said, adding that energy efficiency on its own “will not carry the country”.

Most of the country’s power stations were old. “They are old and need to be replaced,” he said, adding that a pertinent issue for the country is that of energy security.

To date, said the minister, only 14% of South Africans lack access to electricity. Terrain was among the issues that had slowed down the process of getting electricity to all South Africans.

“People shouldn’t be punished for staying in rural areas,” he said, adding that the process of getting electricity to every South African continues.

Net metering

On the issue of net metering, which allows consumers to send their extra power back to the electricity grid, the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) is looking at the issue.

“At the moment we are still doing preliminary investigations to see how it has worked or not worked in other countries,” said Nersa CEO Phindile Baleni, who was also at the breakfast briefing.

She further added that while the regulator is looking at this, its important to take note that most municipalities in the country depend on electricity as part of their revenues. A pilot is being conducted. -
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