The embattled power utility company, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) incurred a net loss of P1.3 billion in 2013, minister responsible for Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo said Monday.
Delivering his sixth speech at the parliament building, Matambo said the P1.3 billion figure is higher than the 2012 loss which stood at P1.1 billion. He attributed the net losses to increase in generation, transmission and distribution expenses.
It has also emerged that a large part of BPC’s direct costs were incurred in procuring power from external sources, part of which was subsidised by Government through an emergency power grant. BPC has been buying its power from neighbouring South Africa’s power utility, Eskom. Lately the corporation also started buying from neighbouring Namibia after South Africa started experiencing power shortages.
While demand has gone up, electricity supply is still low as the country’s biggest power station Morupule B power plant is not fully operational. Botswana has had problems with power supply for five years now after its main supplier; neighbouring South Africa drastically reduced the amount of power they sold to Botswana due to their own challenges.
On Monday Matambo said that the corporation has been allocated P1.5 billion to cover tariff subsidy and some operational expenses during the 2015/16 financial year.
“A total of P12.93 billion is proposed for the development budget for the financial year 2015/2016. The largest share of the development budget is allocated to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) at P3.32 billion or 25.7 percent of the budget. This will allow Government to continue to address the water and power issues facing the country by putting in place appropriate infrastructure,” Matambo said Monday.
Meanwhile the minister also announced that the government has budgeted P100 million towards the refurbishment of Morupule A, P100 million for electrification of villages while P50 million will be spared for the North West Power Transmission Grid. The government also expects to spend at least another P50 million at Rakola Power Substation while the ZIZABONA regional power project is estimated to cost atleast P33 million.
“A total of P150 million has been allocated for the construction of an Oil Storage facility at Tshele Hills in Kgatleng District to address various energy needs in the country.”, Matambo said.