The Botswana Power Corporation should not be operating under a loss as reported by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo.
Contributing on Thursday to the budget speech presented by the minister, Member of Parliament for Boteti North, Lebonaamang Mokalake, wondered how the power utility could operate under a loss when it has so many potential customers.
“BPC as it stands could be operating as a shop selling electricity to customers and the business flourishing as a result,” Mokalake said, adding that power connection into the households was the shared responsibility between the customers and the utility.
Customers have to dig into their pockets for the electricity to be connected in their compounds.
“Transformers, electricity poles and cables are the shared responsibility between BPC and the clients who have to pay for the installation of the same under the connection fee transaction and as such BPC losses could be low,” he noted.
Mokalake said BPC could be incurring losses in the production of electricity not infrastructure as the customers assist financially in the purchase electricity commodities.
Presenting the budget speech recently, Matambo indicated that the electricity sector cost of inputs exceeded the value of sales resulting in negative growth.
This was mainly due to the challenges arising from delay in commissioning of Morupule B Power Station which resulted in a shortage of domestic power supply and increased costs of imports from South Africa.
“One of the critical inputs to any productive investment is power supply. In this regard, government continues to strive to maintain adequate power supply in the country, despite the relatively high cost of providing it,” Matambo said.
The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development advised BPC to connect electricity into the customer’s houses and later deduct by means of installation.
Under the government’s village electrification programme, Mokalake is surprised that BPC could install the electricity poles which will stand there without use.
He cited such an incident in Komana village where the electricity poles lay unconnected next to the main kgotla.
“Electricity could have been connected to the entire village and customers allowed to pay later.”
“Such as move could see BPC sales improve not as is the case today,” Mokalake concluded.