Demand Side Management

Energy Efficiency and Load Shifting

From a utility point of view it would seem that a sensible business approach would be the promotion of consumption thereby increasing sales and profitability. This would be true if there was an excess of capacity and revenues were the only important factor in an energy supply system. Demand side management plays an important role in cutting down on capital injections needed for new generation plants and such funds ironically then contribute to the profitability of the company. In the case of Swaziland, DSM is implemented to mitigate risks in security of supply as about 80% of electricity is imported from other countries.

From an environmental perspective, a decrease in energy demand due to improved efficiency reduces the environmental impact of energy consumption associated with a particular level of production or activity. In this respect, promoting DSM can thus enhance the public image of a utility company. A number of strategies have been applied by SEC in the past year to effectively educate customers and promote efficient electricity usage. These include:

  1. A total of 22 roadshows have been conducted throughout the country for domestic customers. Such roadshows are conducted at the local community constituencies and include areas such as Nkhaba, Maphalaleni, KaLanga, Maseyisini, Nhlambeni, Gege, Timpisini, Matseni-Mpuluzi, Siphula, Mhlangatane, Egugwini, Mtsambama, Hlane, Nkwene, Lomahhasha, Siphofaneni, Matsanjeni and the most recent roadshow held at Mangcongco Inkhundla on the 14th January 2012. The programme of conducting these roadshows will continue at a frequency rate of 1 roadshow fortnightly, until the end of the financial year.
  2. SEC also conducts radio programmes from 2 local radio stations. Radio shows in both pre-recorded format and live programmes every Fridays are conducted on SBIS Siswati Channel and another live programme for Wednesdays on VOC Radio Station. The pre-recorded program is broadcasted at 15:45hrs – 16:00hrs and the live programme is broadcasted at 21:15hrs – 2200hrs. The VOC programme is at 20:30hrs – 21:15hrs.
  3. SEC has a number of billboards erected across the country posting DSM messages that encourage customers to save on electricity usage. This is an on-going exercise in which the messages on the billboards are changed continually.
  4. Energy Audits / Corporate customers are continuously contacted and advised on their electricity usage patterns and the NCC continuously monitors power demands from industrial companies connected to HV lines and there is constant information sharing. This helps to defer high demands during peak periods.
  5. A time-of-use tariff has been applied to industrial customers as a DSM measure to manage power demand during peak periods. Such companies are advised to minimise power usage during peak periods.
  6. SEC has been distributing compact florescent lamps to customers for free during the roadshows, though the quantities distributed are low. This is an area of improvement where more CFL’s could be distributed to encourage customers to save electricity.
  7. The roll-out of prepaid electricity connection has seen about 95% of all domestic customers being converted from credit meters to prepaid meters. Market intelligence information from roadshows and other exhibitions like the International Trade Fair indicate that customers are now conscious of their electricity consumption patterns and always strive to minimise monthly usage to save on their budgets.
  8. SEC has also set up a Power Loss Team that is focused on reducing commercial losses whilst the engineering department focuses on technical losses. This is of particular significance because with the recent rollout of prepaid electricity where no monthly meter reading is required, we have seen an increase in the number of illegal electricity connections. Such connections use electricity without restraint as there are not costs (illegally) incurred by those using the electricity. This contributes a certain portion to the electricity demand besides the monetary losses.