City Power purchases its bulk power from major generators and the cost of this energy varies throughout the day and also the year. At peak demand, generally mid-morning and early evening and during the colder winter months, the cost of energy is at its highest. The increase in price is quite significant and this has a major effect on City Power’s operating costs.
As an electricity utility serving the greater Johannesburg metropolitan region, we have an obligation to operate our business on a financially sound basis and to be economically viable.
In line with most electricity utilities worldwide, City Power has introduced an energy management system. In simple terms, the concept of energy management is to limit the amount of electricity bought during the expensive peak periods to reduce overall operating costs. In this way, the significant savings achieved on bulk energy purchases can be passed on to consumers in the form of reduced tariff increases.
The question is how to reduce energy demand during peak periods but least inconvenience consumers?
It would clearly be wrong to switch off stoves, lights, refrigerators and space heaters as these are important appliances on which residents rely. A water geyser is an appliance that generally uses the most amount of power in a household and it also has the ability to store the heated water. Once the water has been heated to the required temperature, it will remain hot for several hours due to the thermal insulation of the geyser.
One of the most widely-used methods of energy management is, therefore, to remotely switch off water geysers for limited periods during times of peak demand. Generally, consumers are unaware of this and experience little inconvenience as the water in the geyser has been heated prior to switching off. City Power has installed this type of energy management system extensively through its area of supply.
These systems are proving extremely successful in providing both consumers and City Power with a convenient way of reducing local and national demand for energy during peak periods.