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Eskom's rural microgrids


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1 hour ago, seant said:

It's a nice ploy by Eskom they will charge a daily connection/consumption like a pay as you go system to recover their investment.

They aren't even the first to think of that. There are lots and lots of providers with this same business plan, and there is really nothing wrong with that business plan: A small village might have a communal Diesel generator and pay for that electricity... now they have a communal PV plant which costs less :-)

Do I trust Eskom not to mess it up, or for a protest to damage the equipment? No... not entirely :-)

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1 hour ago, DeepBass9 said:

What's the story in SA with microgrids? Does Eskom's monopoly make them the only provider or are there others? 

I've wondered about this myself. By law only Eskom is allowed to buy and sell, but that must obviously be seen within context: It would be absurd that Eskom could show up two years later and tell you to dismantle your small-village plant because they intend doing the same thing... at 50% more money. I think, though I may be wrong, that it has to do with their regulatory function over the distribution grid, in other words who "owns" the "system". That would mean that where you own the distribution system, that monopoly would not apply.

Small PV plants for charging phones (for a fee) is already a thing in rural areas.

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On 2018/11/06 at 10:41 AM, plonkster said:

I've wondered about this myself. By law only Eskom is allowed to buy and sel

I think you are right, I think it has to do with selling on their distribution network and not so much the selling of power in general.

I mean if that was true, why am I allowed to rent a generator from someone? I am going to rent that generator to generate power, someone is selling me power :P

I would actually really like to know the answer to this: Assuming a fully "Off grid" network where I do my own distribution in a small village, would I be allowed to sell power to my village neighbor?

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No you won't be able to sell.  If you read the reg's you will see the "own consumption" is the key.  As soon as you even give your power to someone else that is illegal.

Pity because I see huge benefits to suburbs with microgrids.  Can you imagine.  Panels everywhere and banks of batteries talking to each other via wifi... Big container sitting next to the main transformer for the suburbs with "tesla/BYD/Pylontech" branding on the side ;)


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40 minutes ago, DeepBass9 said:

But there is surely the option to run it as a cooperative or NPO?

Indeed, I was just thinking. What if no money passes hands... like Cape Town is dealing with this right now by using a rebate system.

But truth be told: I think the law needs to change.

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I know of a company that started rolling out a prepaid unit for individuals homes . It works more like a rental but paid on a cheap daily rate. You get a card , load money on it and then recharge the battery unit. In Nigeria where it was first launched it took off like wild fire until there were problems loading funds onto the units and then there was chaos. It seems to be put on hold cause they were putting more expansion into microgrids, it just makes more sence. I was informed that they were to be installing more microgrids in the rural areas but on a prepaid system too. So I don't know how the law fits into that. Maybe as it's off grid and Eskom is not avaliable or going to be avaliable there is a loop hole or they turn a blind eye as it benifit the community.

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