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Eskom Implements Load Reduction to Combat Network Overload

Eskom has announced the implementation of load reduction across seven provinces to prevent the overloading of its infrastructure, particularly transformers. This decision comes as a response to the heightened demand during the winter season, which exacerbates the risk of network overloading.

Understanding Load Reduction

Load reduction is a preventive measure distinct from load shedding. While load shedding addresses the national grid’s inability to meet electricity demand, load reduction is specifically targeted at protecting local infrastructure from damage due to overloading. This practice is necessary when the electricity demand in certain areas exceeds what the infrastructure can handle, leading to potential failures and prolonged outages.

Why Load Reduction is Necessary

Eskom’s network has been severely strained by the illegal use of electricity and increased consumption, particularly during peak hours. Overloaded transformers, primarily caused by electricity theft and indiscriminate use of electricity, pose a significant risk to human life and infrastructure. The power utility has reported that about 94% of the total overloaded transformers are located in Limpopo, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and North West.

Monde Bala, Eskom Group Executive for Distribution, emphasized the dangers: “Overloaded transformers as a result of electricity theft present a serious risk to human life. We only implement load reduction as a very last resort for the shortest periods possible after all other options have been exhausted.”

Illegal Connections and Criminality

Illegal connections and other criminal activities have significantly contributed to the need for load reduction in various areas. Eskom has repeatedly conducted public information campaigns to educate customers on the dangers and implications of electricity theft. However, these efforts have not been sufficient to curb the problem. As a result, Eskom has no choice but to implement load reduction to protect its assets from repeated failures and explosions, which pose a risk to human life.

Impact of Overloaded Transformers

An overloaded transformer can leave an area without power for up to six months if it fails, which disrupts the lives and livelihoods of residents. Currently, there are about 2,111 transformers frequently overloaded across the country, with 900 already awaiting replacement. Eskom has invested significantly in increasing capacity to meet demand, but the persistent illegal use of electricity continues to challenge the sustainability of the network.

Mitigating the Risk

To address these challenges, Eskom has launched the “Save Your Transformers, Save Lives” campaign, urging consumers to reduce their electricity consumption, ensure their connections are legal, and report any illegal activities. Despite efforts to educate communities and remove illegal connections, the problem persists, necessitating the continuation of load reduction.

Consumer Cooperation and Reporting

Eskom is appealing to all consumers to cooperate by reducing non-essential electricity use, especially during peak hours. Customers are encouraged to switch off appliances like heaters and geysers and use alternative heating methods. Additionally, any suspicious activities related to illegal connections, theft, or vandalism of electrical infrastructure should be reported to the Eskom Crime Line.

Conclusion

While Eskom aims to minimize the inconvenience caused by load reduction, the safety and integrity of the electrical network remain a priority. By taking these proactive measures, Eskom seeks to protect its assets and ensure the continued supply of electricity to its customers.

For more tips on reducing electricity demand and ensuring safe usage, consumers can visit Eskom’s energy-saving tips page.

Contact Information

To report criminal activities related to electricity theft, illegal connections, or vandalism, contact the Eskom Crime Line at 0800 112 722.

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