Vodacom progresses with virtual wheeling pilot with Eskom

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  • Vodacom is piloting a virtual wheeling project with Eskom.
  • Vodacom’s operating situation is unique due to the complexities of having over 15,000 distributed low-voltage sites across the country with linkage to 168 municipalities.

Until now, this complexity has prevented Vodacom from accessing power purchase agreements and “wheeling” — or transferring energy over Eskom’s grid. While Vodacom would get its electricity from non-Eskom sources if the pilot is successful, the state-owned power utility would still provide transmission infrastructure and services.

How it works

Energy produced from independant power producers (IPPs) is reconciled with the accumulated energy that is consumed at different Vodacom sites (towers). Vodacom pays for all the energy that is produced by the IPPs and Eskom refunds Vodacom for all IPP-produced energy consumed using a Wholesale Energy Pricing System. Eskom and municipalities enjoy a wheeling tariff for the use of their transmission and distribution networks.

“We remain confident that the ‘virtual wheeling’ pilot project that we’re pioneering with Eskom, South Africa’s power utility company, will be signed off in the near term and that this will have a significantly positive impact on the country’s power grid and ultimately on the over 20 000 towers across the industry that require reliable power supply to operate optimally, said Shameel Joosub, Vodacom Group CEO during the preliminary results address for the year ended 31 March 2023.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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