[miningmx.com] — STRIKES in the metals and mining sectors, brief snaps of winter cold and poor economic activity took significant pressure off Eskom during the coldest months of the year.
Eskom CEO Brian Dames said in Cape Town on Thursday that demand for electricity from large power users was “significantly below expectations” during winter with peak demand of 37 064 MW.
“Strikes in the metals and mining sectors took significant load off the system during some of the coldest winter weeks,” said Dames.
“Large power users reduced load in response to winter tariffs – winter peak tariffs are 3.5 times higher than summer peak tariffs, while average winter tariff is 2.5 times higher than average summer tariff,” Dames said. “Winter cold snaps were relatively brief.
“Demand patterns also reflect weaker than expected economic activity.” The strike in the coal sector between July 24 and August 1 however, also impacted Eskom which lost 1.8 days of system stock in the strike period.
Dames said post strike plans were in place to recover lost deliveries.
“Coal stockpiles are around 36 days and are projected to build to 40 days by the third quarter,” Dames said. “To maintain stock days at projected levels a process has been implemented to source an additional four million tonnes of coal during this financial year.
“Due to the strike impact this has increased to five million tonnes.”
Dames said electricity tariffs were moving up towards “cost reflective” levels, but that South African tariffs remained “competitive”. He said “time of use tariffs” for large power users, intended to provide a signal to reduce load during peak hours, had reduced total demand by large power users during the winter tariff months.
Dames said if all South Africans, individuals, companies and the government saved 10% of their energy use of 2010, there would be enough to ensure a secure power system and grow the economy.
“Some 10% saved is equal to 3 700 MW or one new power station which equals to 23 million tonnes less CO2,” he said.