Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Preventing Load Shedding (Power Failures)

Dear all

There are a few very simple ways of preventing load sheeting and potentially preventing the building of any more power stations in South Africa:
1) Switch off all appliances at the plug including computers, tv's, etc, when they are not being used. If it is inconvenient to get to the plug, use an extension cord from the wall and plug the plug in the wall into the extension cord. You can then unplug the plug at any time.
2) Don't run more than one of the following appliances at the same time: washing machine, dish washer, iron, lawnmower, kettle, microwave, kitchen mixer, oven/stove.
3) Switch off your playstation when it is not in use; same with your DSTV decoder. Both draw almost as much power when they are on standby as when they are on, so if you only watch 3 hours of TV a day, you are wasting electricity for the other 21 hours.
4) Try to use a laptop instead of a PC. Laptop's can save up to 95% of the electricity that PC's use.
5) If you use air-conditioning, don't reduce the temperature to less than 20 degrees Celsius and if it is a very hot day over 35%, set the temperate to 10 degrees less than the outside temperature where possible. You will still feel the cool air and reduce your electricity bills and start saving the environment.

These first 5 items are easy to implement and the more people do them, the less the risk of load shedding. They will dramatically reduce the peak loads on power stations, thus potentially allowing our power stations to reduce their output and also increase the reserve margin from 5% to maybe as high as 25% if everyone gets involved. A 15% reserve margin is required to guarantee no load shedding. Our power stations all currently run at maximum power most of the time. This means that all the maintenance that should be done isn't done. This makes the risk of power outages higher and also requires the building of open cycle gas turbines like the 9 turbines at the Atlantis Ankerlig Power Stations which use diesel.

6) investigate getting a "load shed relay" so that when you switch on the oven or hob, the geyser heater switches off. You should be able to get one for under R1000 plus fitting it. Cheaper than buying a solar geyser.

Number 6 is the first place where you need to spend more than R50.

7) When you can afford it, buy a solar geyser.
8) Start investigating ways of getting off grid, eg by using gas for heating and cooking. Gas saves 0.19kg of CO2 per kwh compared to using electricity per kwh. Electricity pumps up to .6kg of CO2 into the atmosphere for every kwh you use.

Think every day: "how can I save electricity? how can I save money in a recession? how can I protect the environment? how can I leave the world a better place for my children?"

Read http://www.earth.org.uk/saving-electricity.html as an example of someone who has saved up to 90% of his electricity consumption.

Feel free to forward to everyone you know.

Regards
David

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Evil flourishes when good men do nothing (Edmund Burke)

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