ESKOM may pay for your Generator Hours

Eskom is engaging large property owners in an effort to contract their stand-by generator capacity to reduce the electricity demand on the national grid. It is prepared to pay the owner of the generator R3/kWh to run the generator when called upon.

Head of Eskom’s demand side management Andrew Etzinger says the utility is engaging property owners through the South African Property Association (Sapoa), but the offer will not be limited to members only. Any generator above the minimum capacity of 1MW will be considered. “We come out and install a meter on your generator and will thereafter compensate you at about R3/kWh when you run it. We may require you to run it for longer periods that you would have for your own needs though,” says Etzinger.

He explains that while the load shedding schedule may dictate that a shopping centre, for example, must run its generator for two hours, Eskom may require something different. For instance it may need the centre to run on its generators for six hours, because it will reduce demand on the rest of the grid for that period. CEO of Sapoa Neil Gopal says the concept was well received by Sapoa members present at the initial meeting with Eskom representatives in December last year.

Etzinger said any generator has to be switched on regularly to ensure it is always in working condition. The benefit will be that owners will now be compensated for it. He advises though that “the tariff may not be that attractive and owners may be concerned about running out of diesel when they really need it for their own demand”.

These are things to be considered and some flexibility may be necessary, he said. Etzinger nevertheless hopes that agreements can be reached during February. He said Sapoa has sent a questionnaire to its members and is waiting for feedback. Gopal said Sapoa still has to hear from its members what their major concerns are and whether they consider the tariff that Eskom offers viable. He said as the offer stands the key benefits to Sapoa members include:

* Capacity payment for hours scheduled to be on standby the following day;
* Energy payment of R1.25/kWh for energy not consumed;
* Standby notification by 15:00 for the day ahead;
* Minimum 30 minute notification to reduce load;
* One to two hour reduction request per sheduled day;
* Up to 150 load reduction events per year.

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