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12 Days of Christmas & 12 Days Without Power Cuts in 2023

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As we approach the 12 days of Christmas towards the end of December, we have the collective opportunity to reflect on the fact that we’ve only had 12 days with no power cuts this year. The latest insights from EskomSePush indicate that we spent 45 days in Stage 6 loadshedding and experienced 408 390 minutes without electricity this year – that’s 86% more than any other year.

According to the latest data sets from the Outlier, we can confirm that in 2023, South Africans were forced to endure the highest degree of load shedding on record to date. In 2022, we saw 205/365 days of load shedding – mostly between stages 1 and 4.

While glaring, this pales in comparison to 2023, with daily blackouts across 329 days to date, comprising mostly stage 3 to 6 levels of load shedding. Not only does this indicate a shocking 60% increase in power cuts year on year, but the amount of times the power has gone off, each day, has almost tripled.

Without immediate action, through the implementation of new and smart technologies, nothing is going to change.

In the third quarter of 2023 South Africa experienced an almost across-the-board wipeout in real GDP growth. Each quarter of this year has seen our economic activity decrease by 0.2%, at double the expected 0.1% contraction.

These tragic results can be attributed, in part, to the impact that load shedding has had on key drivers of economic growth in South Africa, namely our agricultural sector. The latest data from Stats SA also indicates that over 1 300 local companies had to be liquidated between January – October 2023.

It is said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Our government would be well-advised to start taking a far more innovative approach to this crisis, or we will risk a further shrinkage in our GDP.

Smart geyser devices already offer our beleaguered power utility with a means to decrease the load on Eskom.  Based on the data drawn from a recent study of 6 809 smart geyser devices across South Africa, it was possible to confirm that the average geyser energy usage for 6 346 geysers with a set-point temperature of 51–70°C was 0.492 kWh.

By modeling this data against a study of 463 electric geysers with a modified set-point temperature of 50°C, we can confirm that the average geyser energy usage was lower, at 0.357 kWh.

This study illustrated a significant degree of savings (0.135 kWh) on geyser energy usage – achieved simply by reducing their set-point temperature to just 50°C through the use of a smart geyser device.

If one applies the saving of 0.135 kWh to more than 7 million electric geysers already in use across the country, we could secure total energy savings of around 942,000 kWh – roughly equivalent to one stage of load shedding (1,000 MWh).

Our government must make the smart choice in 2024 to roll-out smart geyser devices to all 7 million electric geysers in South Africa to decrease the rate of loadshedding by one whole level.

It is markedly clear that a simple, smart, technological solution can be leveraged conveniently to mitigate the rise in power blackouts in our country.

Our national government should heed this call, and take a far more innovative approach to addressing our national energy crisis, before it continues to sever the economic growth of our country.

By Mark Allewell, CEO Sensor Networks

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