SELEBI-PHIKWE: A Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) official, Punkie Masake, has explained that the load management of electricity is meant to control power usage in the midst of serious shortage.
Addressing a full council meeting here, Masake said on Wednesday that the national demand of electricity has reached 610MW, but the country can only supply 510MW.
She explained that currently unit one of Morupule B that is operating at full capacity generates 130MW while unit four generates only 90MW.
She noted that unit two that will generate 150MW is anticipated to be fully operational by the end of this month, while unit three is still experiencing technical problems.
Matshelagabedi Power Station generates 70MW, while Orapa Emergency Power Station generates only 90MW. Masake added that externally, Botswana gets 100MW from Eskom, South Africa under a non-committal contract and draws 20MW from Mozambique.
She noted that the load management that started at the beginning of this month is aimed at reducing power offered to domestic and small businesses. She said this depends on the severity of the power supply deficit. The load management is currently taking place in Gaborone, Francistown, Selebi-Phikwe, Jwaneng and Lobatse, as these are areas where smart metres have been installed.
She said the metres are designed such that the loads that are maintained higher than the set limit will result in disconnection of supply.
Another official, Imelda Bonyongo, said loadshedding is a factor not determined by BPC alone but by a system in place and by those supplying the country with power.
“If we can allow the system to collapse it would be difficult to get it up and running again,” she said.
She highlighted that load management was necessary and the system was under stress hence there was no opportunity to inform consumers before implementation.
Councillors enquired if there were no schedules on the power cuts so that consumers could get prepared. They decried the system affects small businesses that are the key components of the town’s economy.
“Councillor Evelyn Kgodungwe said such business are not even in a position to afford backup generators to continue operating during the period when electricity is off. This is likely to lead to collapse of local small businesses,” she said.
Bonyongo explained that the system operates without any favour or fear and they try not to cut power supply in one area repeatedly.
She also said that the system is likely to experience some challenges as it is new and said that BPC will continue to improve its service as it receives feedback from its customers.