Load shedding refers to a technique that enables a system to provide nominal capacity by setting a schedule in which customer requests are temporarily ignored. The technique is widely in use in South Africa, where power plants across the country still need to ensure the availability of electricity. Apparently, there is a threshold to observe, a predetermined “safe” level of consumption. The purpose of which is to avoid overwhelming a power-generating system with demands that go beyond a plant’s capacity to produce electricity.
To improve efficiency, power plants have to have a program of instructions for controlling power shedding and loading operations. Having a program in place allows utility companies to carry out load shedding activities in multiple instances during peak periods.
How Does a Load Management Program Work as Tool for Load Shedding?
The load management program works to eliminate the manual switching of power shedding and loading to On or Off.
Specific load shedding schedules are added as inputs to a microcontroller that interacts with the power generating systems. Using a real time clock, the microcontroller sets the load shedding schedule into motion once real time matches the time specified as load shedding schedule. The power generating system automatically, but temporarily shuts down. It switches back to On, once the level of consumption is already maintained at the
predetermined safe level
Load Management Programs Benefit Large-Scale Power Consumers
Big companies have a constant and higher demand for electricity especially during summer. These are the periods when air conditioners are in continuous operation in workplaces and in homes. In South Africa, utility companies are constrained to follow load shedding schedules, which means they are unable to supply electricity at all times to small to medium sized businesses and homes. Not unless they have secondary generators of electricity like wind-powered or solar-powered stations.
Load Management Software and Secondary Power Generator
In cases where there is a secondary source of electrical power, a load management program of a utility company automatically turns on and shifts to the alternative power source, to ensure continuity of power supply. That way, even if an ongoing load shedding is taking place at the coal-fueled power plant, the utility company can still provide electricity requested or demanded by a client company.
However, this type of load management programs are exclusive to individual large-scale power customers. Mainly because the inputs needed by the microcontroller vary. Aside from the devices, machinery and equipment that need power supply, a load management program has to have data parameters for monitoring voltage, network consistency, power capacity, voltage, current, and phase sequence by which voltage waves react to peak hours.
While large-scale power users will have increased energy costs, entering into an exclusive load management agreement with a utility company can still turn a profit. The continuous power supply will support productivity as opposed to facing opportunity losses.
Moreover, a reliable load management system reduces the risks of injury faced by workers and likelihood of poor performance as results of temporary loss of electricity.