Tuesday, March 2, 2021

All well and fine on the power front ÔÇô BPC boss

After government invested P1.2 billion on Morupule B remediation over the past three years, Botswana Power Corporation considered the sale of the facility to turn around its financial position.

BPC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Stephan Schwarzfischer said the development was in line with the current strategy to turn around BPC’s financial position with regards to reduction of operation costs and establishing Independent Private Partnerships (IPP) that could relief the Corporation of the financial burden.

“The Corporation is currently undertaking continuous maintenance of the Morupule B power plant to ensure reliability of power supply to the country,” he said.

He further stated that the plant has been undergoing improvements which have seen the onboarding of Unit 2 recently, giving an additional 130MW to the national grid to raise supply from the plant to 390MW.  He added that the fourth unit of Morupule B Power Plant being Unit 4 is expected to be operating on full load by end of June 2017 further increasing local generation of electricity by 130 MW which will result in the plant operating on a full load of 520MW. 

“Remedial works would mean that there shall be a time where one unit is shut down for a significant time frame post winter season to give the contractor undertaking remediation access to the turbines. This exercise will not in any way affect the supply of electricity to the country nor lead to any load shedding,” said Schwarzfischer.

BPC CEO Schwarzfischer, said in the future the corporation will be using three sources of energy being their own local production, the Southern African Power Pool market and Bilateral Agreements such as Eskom. 

He added that BPC has renegotiated the bilateral agreements recently and by so doing relieved the country of the huge cost burden that normally comes with power importation. He further stated that BPC would therefore reduce import cost for electricity by half during the 2017/18 financial year.  

“During winter as demand for electricity increases, the Corporation supplements the local supply with imports to ensure continued supply if the local generators are not able to meet the demand whereas during summer, we are able to produce power that is more than enough because local demand would be less and therefore we are able to trade our excess supply in the Southern African Power Pool,” he said.

He is of the view that in future, beyond 2017/18 financial year, BPC should be able to make more savings once both generators are on full operation as there will be less need to import power unless on emergency basis. He added that the renegotiated power importation prices with Eskom to non-firm contract will make it possible for the corporation to import electricity at more affordable rates in the future during seasonal shortfalls.

“BPC is achieving in transforming the performance of both Morupule A and B. This exercise is a process, meaning improvements are being experienced gradually on a positive gradient,” said Schwarzfischer.

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