Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How does “Load Limiting” work?

City Power, the electrical power provider in Johannesburg, South Africa, has begun implementing what it called a “load-limiting” scheme in its areas of supply, in its quest to mitigate the effects of a power supply shortage that has been hounding the country for months.

In a recent statement, the utility provider said consumers who would experience recurrent electricity disconnections should reduce their power consumption by switching-off non-essential appliances and installations, like geysers, stoves or pool pumps.

The utility further explained that customers with an excessive power consumption would experience repetitive disconnections for 30 seconds at five minute intervals until they have reduced their electricity usage to required levels. In case these customers were not successful in limiting their consumption, they would be completely disconnected from the electrical power source through a smart meter that could be remotely controlled.

As of press time, City Power said that they have installed 92,000 smart meters since April, and planned to install a further 30,000 by the end of this month.

The electricity provider gave further details: In the first two weeks of the implementation of the scheme, household electricity usage would be limited to 21 Amps between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM, touted to be the peak hours when the grid would generally be under severe constraint. After such period, load-limiting would concurrently run with the load shedding schedule, which would accordingly be published on the City Power website.

City Power Managing Director Sicelo Xulu said that when each household reduced consumption to required levels during periods of constrained supply, the affected areas would be spared from being subjected to load shedding, as limiting energy consumption during the hours of peak demand would lessen the pressure on the grid.

Watch Xulu explain the mechanics of load-limiting:


Load-limiting and load shedding are necessary, though inconvenient, procedures where electricity is shut down, either partially or totally, to avoid overloading the electricity system. They are usually implemented when the demand for electricity goes beyond the ability of the system to supply it.

Load-limiting and load shedding are detrimental to progress wherever and whenever they are applied. Switching off power to key areas to reduce demand for energy is an inconvenience that can be avoided by hiring interim power plants to support existing power grids or on-site power generation facilities.


Robert Bagatsing
Altaaqa Global
Tel: +971 56 1749505

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