Considering that Botswana is currently experiencing shortages of electricity and regular power, Francistown City Council has been implored by the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to sensitise the public to use power prudently in order to avoid load shedding.
The Marketing Officer at the Corporation, Lodulo Matome, told Francistown councilors on Monday that it is becoming worrisome to BPC because a lot of electricity users use power negligently forgetting that it is a scarce resource.
“I should remind you that Botswana is currently facing shortage of power due to the growing economy like mines and other industry therefore the demand of electricity is higher than its supply,” she said.
Matome went on to point out that Botswana imports part of her electricity from countries like Mozambique, therefore, another challenge is that South Africa decided to reduce its supply to the country due to her own challenges.
She revealed that South Africa which used to supply Botswana with 350 MW of electricity now only supplies 250 MW.┬á┬á
Matome highlighted that South Africa is the major player when it comes to the supply of electricity to Botswana as is supplies 80 percent.
She also stated that one of the challenges that exist is that there is always unplanned outage of power at the local Morupule mine where power is also generated.
“We also source part of our electricity from Mozambique and if they experience technical problems therefore we are affected,” Matome added.
However, she stated that although the challenge is being addressed like emergency power plant in Matshelagabedi and the one that is to be commissioned in Orapa, there is need for the public to be cautious when using electricity because it is a scarce resource.
Matome indicated that the Francistown City Councillors can play a vital role in passing the message to the public because they hold authority and can easily pass the information their electorates.
However, Michael Lekganyane, a senior Engineer at the corporation also highlighted that the regional electricity market is under strain in Southern Africa. He added that the annual demand of electricity is on the rise than the supply therefore generation and transmission investments are needed to unlock and balance the region’s development.
Lekganyane told the meeting that most of the regional governments are cash strapped or precluded from investing due to international financial covenants.
He elaborated that┬á┬áSouthern Africa needs new peaking capacity and new base capacity adding that there is a need for about 1500 MW per annum whilst South Africa alone needs approximately between 1000 ÔÇô 12 000 per annum.
“In Botswana our system peak demand stood at 454 MW in 2006 and grew annually by about 6 percent,” he added.