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Compiled by Devina Haripersad

Eskom to implement Demand Side Management for better energy control

The DSM implementation could be advantageous for both energy consumers and producers.

Eskom, the state-owned electricity utility of the country, has revealed plans to launch Demand Side Management (DSM) programmes in order to better manage the supply and demand of electricity across the nation.

Mpho Makwana, the Chair of Eskom, spoke at the first-ever National Demand Side Management Indaba in Gauteng, where he emphasised that DSM implementation could be advantageous for both energy consumers and producers.

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According to Makwana, the programme would help relieve pressure on the country’s power grid while also enabling customers to reduce their energy expenses by adopting more energy-efficient practices.

DSM programmes would involve encouraging consumers to adjust their electricity consumption levels and behaviour through various measures, including the use of energy-saving light bulbs, distributed generation, and smart meters.

Makwana said that Eskom sees a lot of potential in the rollout of smart meters, which are modernised electricity management solutions designed for both residential and commercial users.

Many benefits from smart meters

These meters record and track the quantity and timing of energy consumption, deducting the used energy from a preloaded balance provided by the user. He said that the deployment of smart meters has many benefits, including the potential to reduce incidents of electricity theft, which could significantly impact load shedding by reducing it by an entire stage.

Moreover, he said, smart meters offer the added advantage of providing accurate insights into an area’s energy usage patterns and peak demand times, making load rationing feasible.

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Large cities such as Johannesburg and Tshwane have already begun to replace their old meters with smart meters, with plans to upgrade their prepaid electricity meters in 2023. Tshwane has gone a step further, embarking on a multi-year project to move all its residential and commercial customers to a prepaid system.

Voucher system to become obsolete

Makwana advised that the Standard Transfer Specification (STS), the current prepaid electricity voucher system, is nearing the end of its lifespan, with voucher sequences no longer being generated after 24 November 2024.

The STS generates unique tokens for each meter, making the system secure. However, after 24 November 2024, STS prepaid meters will no longer accept new credit tokens, and electricity supply will cease once the remaining credits are used up. The meters will reject any tokens generated after this date that contain the 24-digit number as being outdated.

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