Mark Allewell, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Cape Town-based company Sensor Networks was the special guest at Premier Alan Winde’s 18th Energy Digicon. This week’s digicon looked at demand side management (DSM), which is a key component of the Western Cape Energy Resilience Programme.
The aim of DSM is overall to “flatten the curve” of peak energy consumption. It also looks at ways of convincing consumers to reevaluate how they use power.
“As infuriating as it is for residents to be asked to play a positive role in combating power blackouts by reducing their consumption, it is nonetheless necessary. The public has every right to be fed up with loadshedding. It is justifiably intolerable. That is why the Western Cape Government’s approach to demand side management is looking at incentivising behavioural change. We are happy to set ourselves targets, but we need to know that there are incentives for residents for changing behaviour. We want to create an energy system where you are better managing how you use electricity. It is about democratising the power sector. Residents are beyond fed up. We must make power-saving worth their while and reward behaviour.” Premier Winde said.
With innovation and technology playing an increasingly significant role in demand side management, Mr Allewell focused on smart geysers. Geysers account for about 40% of the monthly energy bill in your average South African home and are considered as low hanging fruit which can be more easily and better managed amid the energy crisis.
He said, “When we had loads of energy nobody thought about their geysers. Now that energy is limited people are really starting to think about how they use energy and with the increase in electricity tariffs people are starting to think more about their budgets. A geyser can cost anywhere between R400 and R1000 to run.”
New technology is available to give residents more control over their home by retrofitting a ‘smart’ device to existing geysers in the context of loadshedding, this kind of technology plans around blackouts to ensure there is always hot water available, even during outages.
Mr Allewell remarked, “Consumers should be rewarded for contributing towards easing blackouts. We can use “smart home” technology to reduce energy consumption and this will lead to cost-saving for consumers.”
Premier Winde also reflected on this week’s meeting of the Western Cape Energy Council where Electricity Minister, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, gave a presentation. At the meeting, the Premier raised serious concerns over the delays in the refurbishment of the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant’s two generation units. “We agreed we need to be open and honest about this critical issue,” he stated.
Special Advisor on Energy, Mr Alwie Lester, also assured the public that there is no threat of a nuclear fallout during the refurbishment process. He said, “The safety component of the station is not questionable. I do not think there is a risk of a fallout. Koeberg has had one of the best safety records in the world for decades.”
To watch a recording of this week’s digicon please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xBQ2i4sxR4
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Western Cape Government: Office of the Premier.