Any cost-conscious electricity consumer will always be on the lookout for ways to optimise their energy use and reduce the money paid for the service. Driven by tariff structure design, the real costs have always been, and remain dependent on the profile of the load. The more “peaky” the load, the more it costs to service it. This is one of the few places in the world where a “flat line” – a flat load profile – turns out to be a good thing, as it is cheaper for the electricity distributor to service.
The load profile shown above is one of City Power’s smaller Eskom intake points supplying an area where there has been rapid residential growth and the necessary upstream upgrades are planned, but still several years away in the Eskom pipeline. As a result, the intake point is subject to Notified Maximum Demand Penalties and over the 2017/18 financial year, the penalty amounted to R2,6-million for the year, while the “normal” component of the bill was around R20-million for the year. The penalty therefore inflated the price for that intake point by more than 10% for the year. This inflated cost is over and above the higher cost due to the “peaky” nature of the load.