Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Botswana still in ‘dark’ despite BPC power deals

The country’s┬ápower utility, Botswana Power Cooperation (BPC), warned of a bumpy road towards the┬áself sufficiency status despite signing binding agreements with regional energy giants aimed at filling up the Eskom supply gap.

Societe Nationale d’Electricite of the republic of Congo and Electricidade de Mocambique of Mozambique have entered into an agreement to jerk up electricity supply in the country.

South Africa’s Eskom, is inundated with power outages within its boundaries coupled with the power consuming soccer preparation activities.

The country, which is to host world soccer extravaganza, ceased to supply power to Botswana in December, prompting BPC to look elsewhere.
Despite striking a deal with the east African power utilities, BPC, however, paints a gloomy future to extend to 2012.

“The power supply is still constrained regionally and as such if the demand is not managed and customers do not strictly adhere to all power conservation methods the supply deficit remains inevitable,” says Botswana Power Corporation Marketing and Communications Officer, Jakes Setlhabi.

He adds: “Electricity demand is also tied to the activities of the economy, as the economies recover from the recession demand will increase and this will invariably put a strain on the electricity supply.”

While SNEL, providing the country with 50 MW, would end its contractual commercial operation in 2012, the Mozambique utility, providing 40MW, would cease operations in December.

Notwithstanding these hurdles, the BPC is optimistic the developments would give the country a new lease of life because the two utilities have good history to supply power surplus in their capacity as exporters.

“The reason for contracting for power supply with SNEL and EDM is to meet the national demand. The two utilities are able to export when they have surplus in their supply portfolio.”

Members of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which aims to close the power supply gaps amongst the signatories, Mozambique and the Republic of Congo, are supplying Botswana in the context of SAPP agreement and already EDM has had consistent supply of electricity to Southern states, including Swaziland and Namibia.

With regards to the Morupule B expansion expected to end Botswana’s power plight, Setlhabi said, “The project is in progress as scheduled and is expected to meet the contractual Commercial Operation date of 2012.”

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