Sunday, October 25, 2020

BPC threatens government with power blackouts

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and government are at loggerheads over the long standing electricity bills that have reportedly accumulated into hundreds of millions.

The BPC is threatening to pull the plugs from its shareholder’s offices throughout the country if government continues to default on payment.   

The government reportedly owes the BPC an unquantified amount yet believed to be running into hundreds of millions pula accumulated over the years.

The two cannot reach a settlement in which government proposed that BPC should write off its bills and start from a clean slate while the BPC insists government and other parastatals must pay up their bills.

Responding to this publication queries, the BPC chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Stefan Schwarzfischer confirmed that government owes BPC without divulging the amount of the debt

“Government like other entities owes the BPC and that is a debt between the BPC and client. Unfortunately we cannot share this with a third party,” he said.

When asked what other options are on the table for the BPC to force government to pay its arrears Schwarzfischer replied: “The BPC is reliant on the cash from customers. The BPC is changing from post-paid to prepaid meters where possible.”

His emphasis is that the power utility does not consider writing off debt by government institutions as the government will pay at some stage. Schwarzfischer stated that as a way of reducing debt, the BPC has resorted to implement prepaid metres project since December 2016.

He explained that since then traffic and street lights are now on prepaid meteres throughout the country and the project was completed sometime in February last year.

About frequent power cuts that are often experienced in traffic lights during peak hours mostly in Gaborone, he stated that sometime the lights ran out of units or either a technical problem.

He said the Gaborone City Council (GCC) is better placed to respond since traffic and streets lights are managed by the local authority.

The GCC had not responded to this publication queries at the time of going to press. 

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