Saturday, May 8, 2021

Power supply ‘fairly stable’ ÔÇô Mokaila

The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila, says that with two units at Morupule B power station functioning and one more expected to have come on stream this past week, power supply in the country is “fairly stable.”

“The power outages currently are not as bad as they were and it is because Morupule B is giving us more than we expected it to be at this point in time,” he told parliament, adding that outages are not as bad as they were. “I am not denying there will still be outages, but the truth of the matter is they have now decreased.”

The minister further revealed that in addition to the fixing of Morupule B, plans are underway to renew Morupule A and that two independent power producers are looking at setting up at Mmamabula and Sese coalfields and producing 500 megawatts.

“We have got a tender circulating for solar and we have gas,” he said.

The cumulative result, he promised, is that “by the end of 2018 we will have so much power coming out.” That represents moving the target date by six years because even as he acknowledged, government’s plan was for the country to be power-sufficient by 2012, with Morupule B running at full capacity.

“The truth of the matter is that Morupule B has encountered problems. I have never shied away from saying we have problems and it is only in the boilers as I have always said and we are dealing with the problem. We had confidence initially in the contractor that he will do right thing and the truth is the contractor has not done the right thing. What we are doing now is we have taken the responsibility of the repairs at his costs to ourselves through an agent – or the original equipment manufacturers, to fix the problems,” he said.

His figures of how much it would cost to fix Morupule B don’t tally with those provided by the Francistown South MP, Wynter Mmolotsi.

“I was listening to Honourable Mmolotsi on radio the other day saying that it is going to cost P11 billion to fix that. That is totally dishonest and this is what I say when I talk about political points scoring. I have been here many times, we believe it will be done within P2 billion. That is a budgetary figure, but all that has to be done is probably far less than that. The fact of the matter is we still have a bond, we still have retention. We have all that money that can cover those repairs,” the minister said.

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