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FAQ - Energy Usage

Groups of circuits in each utility's service area are picked so a certain amount of demand can be eliminated and the electric system can be balanced. The circuits are from a wide area, so small numbers of customers in varied parts of the regions would be affected - or so the story goes.

Breakdown of energy usage in your home is as follows:

  • Heating and cooling - 51%
  • Pool pump - 13%
  • Water heating - 12%
  • Refrigerator - 5%
  • Electric Dryer - 4%
  • Other - 15%

It makes a big difference -- about 400 to 450 megawatts region-wide -- which in times of peak use is a very important part of the utilities efforts to safeguard the electric system. (A megawatt is one million watts and serves roughly 300 single homes.)

?Small business and customers not defined under Domestic Customers, who are supplied at 400 volt or 800 kVAsingle phase and 500 volt or 500kVA three phase.

Domestic customers are customers who are supplied at 230 volts, single phase or 400 volts three phase. This includes: Private houses Block of flats, townhouses, cluster houses and maisonettes Small businesses that are supplied at 230 volt single phase not exceeding 80 amps

Big business customers who are supplied at 6 600 volt and above.

The system can be used independently of the national grid. The system can tap into the national electrical grid ( if necessary ), due to its SABS rating. Environmentally friendly; Low maintenance; Easy to operate.

Switch off all geysers during peak periods Switch off all air-conditioning and non-essential lighting Switch off heating equipment and pool pumps Switch off all appliances at the wall, if not in use Switch off all office equipment, after houts Use alternative energy sources and low wattage energy-saver bulbs Limit the use of cooking appliances (stir-fry.... it's healthier)

Load shedding -- an almost instantaneous cutting of power to customers -- would be used only in extraordinary situations, such as losing a major generating station or a large power line. This is done to preserve the electric system and so utilities can continue to provide service to the large majority of its customers. It would likely come without warning. The next step utilities could use in this emergency response process is the rolling blackout. These would be managed interruptions that would last for specified time intervals, usually no more than a few hours. When possible, advance warning of either load shedding or rolling blackouts would be given, but in most cases this is not possible as it is an instant reaction.

Visit the Google PowerMeter homepage for FAQs as well as useful energy saving tips.

The Kestrel Battery-Charging system is only temporary until South Africa's national grid (parastatal Eskom makes electricity available to the targeted area) or permanent if no connection is planned. Provision of Eskom electricity usually involves wiring houses from scratch. By ensuring that my proposed system is installed by qualified electrician according to South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), additional costs could be avoided since the system would simply tap into the national grid.

If an extreme situation was to persist and public appeals were unsuccessful, it could be necessary to disconnect some customers. If load is extraordinarily high or generating units are off line, the system would automatically disconnect customers to avoid system instability, widespread blackouts and system damage. Depending on where problems occur, different areas would be disconnected.

The appeal is made to reduce customer demand (amount of energy needed by a country), to balance generating capacity and demand in that area and to help maintain uninterrupted power for customers.