Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila says he is aware of persistent power shortage in the Chobe district, which at times lasts for up to two weeks. These outages disrupt business and social activities in the area.
Botswana has a five year contract for supply of 5MVA of electricity to the Chobe region from Kariba Dam at the Kanzungula point of supply. The cross border power supply contract started in May 2012. Namibia on the other hand supplies 550kVA to the Chobe region via Ngoma, through a 25 year contract that started in December 2001.
Speaking in parliament on Monday, Mokaila said the power shortages are often a result of problems with cross border power supplies. To augment the problem, he said, Botswana has roped in other countries like Zimbabwe to salvage the situation.
“It is our intention to remedy the situation through our partnership with neighbouring countries including Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe until our domestic power crisis is solved come 2019/20,” Mokaila said.
He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Ronald Shamukuni, who wanted to know when Chobe will be connected to the national power grid to reduce total dependence on imported electricity, given the diminishing electricity generation capacity at Kariba Dam due to reduced water levels.
Mokaila revealed that the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is in the process of extending the national transmission grid to North West Botswana. Chobe District will be connected to the national grid during Phase II of this project which is planned to be completed in 2019/20. As a member of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), BPC is aware of the status of Kariba Dam and other interconnected SADC member countries.