The state electricity utility Eksom, in conjunction with the city of Cape Town and Western Cape provincial governments, has launched a energy-saving campaign in the run-up to winter. The drive has two main aims: to reduce demand during peak periods (07.00-10.00 and 18.00-20.00); and to lower consumption by promoting energy-efficient equipment and practices. In this way it is hoped to prevent a repeat of the load-shedding in the province in February after a combination of problems at a generator at the Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town and overloaded transmission lines plunged homes and businesses into darkness. Repairs at Koeberg are scheduled for completion in mid-May but the facility will continue to run at reduced capacity until the end of July while another generator is shut down for refuelling and maintenance.

Measures include financial incentives for companies that run their own generators and subsidies on the purchase of energy-efficient equipment such as geyser blankets and solar water heating. Five million energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps are also to be distributed in a door-to-door campaign in Khayelitsha, Table View, Mitchell's Plain, Atlantis and Blaauwberg as well as at designated shops by the end of May.

In a related development, the public enterprises ministry has confirmed that a feasibility study is underway into the possibility of building a second nuclear power station at Koeberg to meet the growing demand for electricity in the region.

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