Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Botswana struggles to refurbish Morupule A power plant

The ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources is exploring other financial means to resuscitate Morupule A power station which is currently operating at a loss, both in power generation and cost production.

The power station was expected to generate 372,602MWh, but it produced only 57,419MWh as from April to September 2012, putting pressure on the supply side.

Worse still, the actual cost production for the year up to October 2012 was P381.8 million compared to a targeted budget of P135.8 million.

Admitting heavy loses his ministry has to endure in the current recessionary environment, minister Kitso Mokaila said: “We are exploring other financial avenues to pay both these costs escalations and the refurbishment of Morupule A power station.”

He added: “To avoid costs escalations, we have decided to refurbish Morupule A power station which is cost effective”.

Despite heavy losses incurred, Morupule A will still be required even after Morupule B has been commissioned and is therefore expected to remain in operation.

“The plan is to refurbish the power station and return it to service at the earliest possible opportunity,” Mokaila said.

Expected to considerably enhance the country’s deficient power generation and the surplus exported to neighbouring countries, Morupule B is yet to be fully operational, with power outages still the order of the day to a developing Botswana government eager to lure foreign investment.

Morupule B power station secured foreign loan from Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Standard Chartered Bank.

“The plan is to refurbish the power station and return it to service at the earliest possible opportunity,” Mokaila further told parliament.

After refurbishment, it is expected that the majority of the current employees will be the ones to carry out its operations, allaying mounting fears of retrenchment.

The station will be put under care and maintenance, before refurbishment, during which period some of the employees will be required to undertake care and maintenance activities.

While others will be deployed to Morupule B others will be deployed to other business units in the Corporation.

“The latter employees will be redeployed to the station after refurbishment and together with the Care and Maintenance, will form the complement of employees to run the refurbished power station,” Mokaila reassured.

“The Corporation is in the process of undertaking a staff rationalisation exercise to ensure the effective and efficient manning of Morupule A and Morupule B. Employees who cannot be absorbed in either power station or in other business units will be offered an exit package,” he said.

Concerned about the dwindling operations of Morupule A, coupled with sky-rocketing prices suffocating the government and threatening the existence of the employees, the area MP Moisaraela Goya brought about a question without notice in parliament to safeguard the livelihood of his voters and residents.

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