In its current financial year, which ends in March, State-owned power utility Eskom will complete the electrification of 118 600 households in its supply areas at a cost of R1,75-billion, reports Eskom divisional capital programme manager of electrification Nomvula Hlatshwayo.
“Projects are generally undertaken in all provinces, with a significant portion of the 2010/11 electrification funds being expended in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the Eastern Cape and Limpopo to address proportional backlogs in these areas,” she explains.
A further R1,74-billion has been budgeted by the utility for the electrification of another 98 900 households during the 2011/12 financial year.
“The decreased number of connections from the current implementation year is due to infrastructure projects that must either be completed or initiated in some provinces. “Connections will increase once these infrastructure projects have been commissioned, as capacity will have been created,” says Hlatshwayo.
The Eastern Cape has been allocated the largest portion, 31%, of the 2011/12 budget. The year’s electrification projects in the province include infrastructure projects that started in the current financial year and are to be completed in 2011/12.
KZN has been allocated 25% of the 2011/12 budget, Limpopo received 11%, Gauteng 8%, the North West 7%, Mpumalanga 6%, the Western Cape 5%, the Northern Cape 3% and the Free State 2%.
Eskom’s electrification projects entail the supply of electrical grid connections to households not previously connected, in line with the utility’s commitment to expand the grid network. The nongrid electrification programme is managed by the Department of Energy (DoE).
“Other connections are implemented by local municipalities in their individual supply areas. “Both Eskom and the local municipalities’ programmes form part of South Africa’s Integrated National Electrification Programme, which is managed by the DoE,” says Hlatshwayo.
Electrification projects are planned in conjunction with local municipalities and the DoE. Local municipalities identify projects for electrification in the utility’s areas of supply. Eskom aligns electrification plans according to municipalities’ needs as prioritised in the Integrated Development Plans. A consolidated Eskom electrification plan is then submitted to the DoE for approval.
“Once projects have been approved by the DoE, Eskom constructs the medium-voltage and low-voltage reticulation lines and provides each household with a 20-A prepayment supply. This supply is fully subsidised by the DoE. If a customer requires a higher supply, [the customer is] required to pay an associated connection fee.
“An average after diversity maximum demand (ADMD) of 1 kVA is estimated for each household electrified in the 2010/11 electrification programme, with about 118 MW of demand to be added to the grid by the end of the programme,” explains Hlatshwayo.
ADMD is the load after taking the demand factor as well as the diversity factor of the installation into consideration.
The electrification projects undertaken by Eskom mostly involve the electrification of formal housing developments, which entails the electrification of houses in proclaimed areas. The DoE must approve projects in informal settlements before Eskom can begin work.
However, there is a policy guideline from the DoE regarding the electrification of unproclaimed areas.
The policy guideline states that a municipality must fund the relocation or formalisation costs where a subsidised connection has been given to a dwelling that is then replaced with a more permanent or other structure.