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By Citizen Reporter

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Load shedding: Eskom launches three power purchase programmes to secure 1 000MW

One of Eskom's programmes is to import power from neighbouring countries.


In an bid to address the load shedding crisis in South Africa, Eskom has launched three power purchase programmes that will see it procuring 1 000MW of power for the national grid on an expedited basis.

According to spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha on Monday, the programmes will initially focus on generators capable of supplying more than one megawatt to the grid. Over time, the threshold will be lowered to enable smaller producers to participate.

Eskom expects to sign the first power supply agreement this week and for the power to start flowing through the grid “as soon as possible”.

“The combined impact of the programmes, predicted to exceed 1 000MW, will make an important contribution towards reducing the load shedding burden on consumers,” said Eskom.

According to Eskom, the three purchase programmes are: the standard offer programme, the emergency generator programme, and the bilateral power import programme.

Standard offer programme

The standard offer programme, where Eskom aims to procure power from companies who have existing generation capacity for a period of three years.

“The standard offer approach allows Eskom to purchase electricity at an established price calculated at the avoided cost of own generation (including long term energy purchases from independent power producers).

“The standard offer allows for a static price, which is established each year based on the regulatory approved cost recovery and covers the variable cost of generation. It also allows for a dynamic price option where the price is set day-ahead for each hour of the following day, indicating the avoided cost of generation based on internal scheduling of generators,” said Eskom.

Emergency generator programme

The emergency generator programme, where the power utility will procure more expensive power during periods when the grid is significantly constrained.

“The programme allows for independent generators to provide energy daily to compete with the Eskom generators in the internal market. The independent generators will supply into the grid based on the offer price and availability provided.”

Bilateral power import programme

The bilateral power import programme will secure imports of power to the country from neighbouring countries.

In July, Eskom confirmed that engagements with the Botswana Power Company about the possibility of importing electricity from Botswana were ongoing.

“Any agreement would be on sound commercial terms and subject to approval by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE),” said Mantshantsha at the time.

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In a statement, the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) said it planned to sell electricity because it meets the local electricity demand for power supply during off-peak periods and is able to export surplus power to the region.

“When all our eight units are in full operation and there are no off takers (buyers) for surplus power in the energy during the off-peak periods, there is a need to reduce electricity generation from our power plants to avoid dumping power into the regional grid, which is not good practice as it can cause extreme system disturbances,” it said.

“BPC has therefore started engaging Eskom to purchase the excess electricity supply generated during off-peak times (weekends) in order to protect our plants against load management fluctuations and also to ensure that surplus electricity has a secured market.”

Eskom said it was already importing electricity from some of its neighbours via the Southern African Power Pool, with an average 200MW being used to augment Eskom generation capacity when the grid is constrained.

READ NEXT: Negotiations with Botswana Power Company to import electricity are ongoing – Eskom

Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde

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