Sunday, September 27, 2020

BPC battles against property vandalism

The national power utility company – Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is currently fighting a losing battle against criminals who are vandalizing its infrastructure. The situation is bleeding the corporation millions of pula and further affecting its services to customers. 

BPC Chief Executive Officer Dr Stefan Schwarzfischer says although the vandalism comes as a cost to the corporation, what worries most is that when this infrastructure is vandalized, it affects service delivery and obviously affects the economy.

“Most of these criminals target our transformers where they steal copper cables. As we speak another transformer in Francistown was vandalized by criminals recently,” he said.
He said replacing these transformers or repairing them is not easy as it takes time to order the parts which in turn affects their supply of electricity to the customers and service delivery. He said most of these culprits seem to be trained on safety as they destroy these transformers with ease and not incurring any hazards. Dr Schwartzfishcher said they have increased their efforts and joined efforts with law enforcement agencies to try and purge the situation.
“We are currently working closely with law enforcement agents to purge this rising problem. One of the challenges we have is that we do not have transformer manufacturing companies in the country, therefore we have to order them from outside and it becomes a serious challenge to us,” he emphasized.
On a positive note he said BPC is currently making strides as it has increased its production and reduced its electricity import bill.
“We used to import P1.4 billion of worth of electricity from outside but we managed to reduce it to P600 million as we have increased our production. We have also reduced our overheads and we reduced faults at BPC to increase our efficiency,” said at the Instant Quotation Launch in Francistown recently.

Among other important issues, Dr Schwarzfischer also said that they have improved viability at Morupule B from 60 percent to 82 percent electricity production. He also revealed that Morupule A has been resuscitated after it was closed in 2012. The power station currently produces 45 megawatts.
Touching on the objective of the launch, he said the BPC Quotation Launch came about after the corporation had a successful pilot project to improve its turnaround time in terms of service to customers.
“The objective of this launch is to try and improve service delivery at BPC by reducing the turnaround time when customers seek quotations and electricity connections. Our customers can now be given quotations within a day rather than the previous longer periods,” he said.
“We have since rolled out the Instant Quotation service to 10 work centres around the country with an additional eight work centres expected for rollout in the second half of the year. The locations currently offering the Instant Quotation are Gaborone, Molepolole Mochudi, Kanye, Ramotswa, Lobatse, Francistown, Serowe and Selibe Phikwe,” he added.
Dr Scwarttzfischer said that they will roll out access to the Instant Quotation service to all other work centres in the coming months.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.