Over the winter of 2023, Eskom estimated that when South Africans with inverters used municipal power to charge their batteries during peak-time power usage, demand spiked by 1,400MW, equivalent to an entire load-shedding stage.
Experts offer some tips so that Eskom doesn’t need to raise the load-shedding stage caused by this stress.
- Set inverters to recharge at night.
- Restrict charging to 0.15C (or limit charging rate to less than 2kW).
- Invest in solar panels.
- The logic is to lessen the immediate power drain on the grid. Currently, Eskom is driving its small-scale embedded generation program (SSEG). But what is the SSEG? And what does this program have to do with plugging your inverter in?
What Is the SSEG?
Small Scale Embedded Generators (SSEG) is a program by Eskom that allows consumers to generate and distribute their energy by installing electric generators that connect and operate in parallel with the grid. The program responds to the significant demand for alternative clean energy that can be integrated into the national grid.
An SSEG is a power generation facility with an installed capacity of less than 1 MW. Usually, these systems utilize renewable technology that produces electricity close to the owner – such as solar panels.
Most electricity generated by an SSEG system is typically consumed on-site. However, when electricity generation exceeds on-site consumption, some electricity may be allowed to flow in reverse from the consumer to a municipality’s distribution grid.
By encouraging more South Africans to build and install SSEG systems, Eskom hopes to lessen the burden on the grid.
However, Eskom reserves its right to disconnect any supply point with an unauthorized grid-tied generator that could potentially risk Eskom field staff, the more extensive network, other customers, and the general public.
While this does not affect your inverter’s use, there are moves to encourage users to purchase, via a subsidy, a solar system to recharge them.
But for those unable to invest in a more extensive system, Eskom is trying to offer clients an alternative program, which would affect those using an inverter.
Now for Eskom’s Latest Trick: Load Limiting
Eskom’s Load Limiting Project allows households access to essential appliances during load shedding between Stages 1 and 4. Using smart meter technology, the device is designed to reduce the electricity load in your home.
This means that during a load limiting session, the smart meter will switch off the electricity for approximately 30 seconds and then come back on for an additional 30 seconds before switching off again. During this time, you will need to switch off appliances that use a lot of power or non-essential devices, including your inverter.
Using this technology, Eskom aims to reduce your electricity consumption from 60 Amps to 10 Amps. By doing this, the company hopes to prevent a higher load-shedding stage from occurring.
Those who don’t reduce their energy usage will face a power trip.
Currently, load-limiting is in its pilot stage, and according to reports in the Citizen, it was being trialed on fewer than 100 residents in Fourways.
Besides the following releases by Eskom, this is the only official news about private inverter use.
Get Up-To-Date By Following Releases
We recommend checking Eskom’s official communication website to get the most accurate and up-to-date information on their plans or policies regarding inverters.
Additionally, local regulatory bodies may have information on policies related to renewable energy systems connected to your local grid and SSEG programs.