The chief executive officer (CEO) of Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Stefan Schwarzfischer has adopted nine baby elephants following a tragic electrocution of the same number of beasts four weeks ago in Dukwi. The accident occurred as a result of a lowered cable that was in the vicinity of a drinking pond.
The CEO’s adoption of nine orphaned elephants in Kenya is a sign of compassion for the endangered species and we welcome his efforts in wildlife conservation. We also would like to take this opportunity to encourage the CEO to extend his compassion to the consumers of electricity in Botswana who have lost valuable electric appliances as a result of power cuts or overloaded transmission that exceeds the capacity of household consumption.
Some of the past power supply interruptions have destroyed consumers’ television sets, radio receivers, refrigerators and other appliances and the customers have nowhere to lodge their complaints. In other instances, customers have had to part way with their perishable consumables such as food or medicines because electricity supply had been interrupted for several hours or even days.
Most of the time, the power corporation refuses liability for the loss on the grounds that the damage is a natural disaster. We implore the corporation to set up a fund to compensate the consumer for losses caused by power supply interruptions.
As the sole supplier of electricity in the country, BPC enjoys a status of monopoly and knows very well that customers do not have any options but to stick to BPC or have no electricity in their homes, businesses and factories, amongst others. The fund can be managed by an autonomous team in or outside BPC that will have guidelines on how to launch a claim for compensation.
Amongst others, the authority will be mandated to investigate whether there was interruption at a particular period of time or day and whether the damage was a result of such interruption. We appreciate that there are unscrupulous individuals who may try to take advantage of the fund to make fraudulent claims, but with engagement of experts, such claims can be prevented or detected.
Lastly, with the fund in place, other victims of electrocution would not have to wait for the CEO’s discretion on whether to compensate or ‘adopt’. We hope that legislators will also heed this call and come up with a law that compels the corporation to compensate victims when necessary.
“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government. ”
- Milton Friedman