Smart metering for residential customers is one of a number of interventions that have been proposed by the South African government as part of a National Electricity Emergency Program to alleviate the country’s growing energy crisis.

The government estimates that load management using smart metering has the potential to reduce load by 3,265 MW, two-thirds of this from domestic hot water heaters and the remainder from laundry, pool pumps and other appliances.

Although smart metering can be initiated in the short term, the benefits will be reaped in the medium to long term, says the government.

Other measures in the program for implementation in the short term, i.e. within the next six months, include power rationing, further rollout of compact fluorescent light fittings and solar water heaters, and initiatives to switch to liquid petroleum gas. In the medium term measures proposed include moving the tariff regime closer to a cost reflective basis, while in the longer term there will be more focus on renewable energy development.

South Africa’s energy crisis has been building up as demand has grown over the past decade edging closer to capacity but supply has remained largely unchanged.

The program is aimed at achieving overall savings of between 10 to 15 percent, with consumption reduction targets of 10 percent in the residential and industrial sectors, 15 percent in the commercial sector and 20 percent in hotels, shopping malls and convention centers.

www.eskom.co.za