Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has increased electricity tariffs, effective April this year.
According to a statement released by BPC, tariffs for domestic customers consuming up to 200-kiloWatt per hour (kWh) have been increased by 7.5 percent while the domestic category customers consuming more than 200kWh per month were increased by 10 percent.
“A stepped two-block tariff structure for domestic and small businesses category customers has been maintained to lessen the impact of the tariff adjustment on low-usage households and small scale businesses as well as an incentive to use electricity efficiently,” reads the statement.
For small-scale business category, tariffs for customers consuming less than 500kWh per month have been increased by 7.5 percent while the charges for small-scale businesses consuming more than 500kWh per month have been increased by 10 percent.
Tariffs for medium and large businesses will be hiked by 17.5 percent electricity, while fixed administration fees remain at current levels for all categories.
For domestic customers consuming more than 200 kWh, the 10 percent increase will result in tariffs rising from 70 thebe per KWh to 77thebe per KWh.
Last year, the power utility said it was losing about 50 thebe of each unit of power sold due to tariffs that are not cost reflective.
Figures indicate that over the years, the gap between the BPC’s cost of supplying a unit of power and its actual sale price has risen from 14 thebe in 2008/09 to 28 thebe in 2011/12 and finally 50 thebe in 2014/15.
For this financial year, government pumped close to P1.5 billion as a tariff subsidy into the struggling corporation’s coffers which the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo said was necessary for economic stability.
Meanwhile, Botswana is seeking to extend the power import agreement with South Africa’s Eskom as electricity imports jumped 36% in the fourth quarter of 2014 due to boiler leakages at the country’s sole power station, Morupule B.
Addressing Kgatleng district councilors recently, Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Kitso Mokaila said that plans are under way to extend the import agreement with Eskom, which ends in December this year, to 2018.
“Under the Eskom agreement, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) can import 100MW on a firm basis, which can be increased by an additional 200MW when available.
“BPC has advised Eskom of its intention to extend the agreement until 2018. Without the support of the south African government Botswana would have faced crippling power shortages,” Mokaila told Councilors.
According to figures released by Statistics Botswana recently, Botswana power imports; mostly from Eskom, rose 36 percent to 510,100 Mega Watt Hour (MWH) in the fourth quarter of 2014 as boiler leakages at country’s sole power station, Morupule B debilitated the plant’s capacity.
The Chinese built 600MW Morupule B power plant constantly breaks down leaving the country, at times, in a precarious position of relying on imports for 100 percent of its electricity needs.
Botswana, which has a peak national demand of 610MW, also has other import agreement with power utilities in Mozambique, Zambia and Namibia.