Consumers should brace themselves for possible dark nights should the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) load management initiative fail to curb the high usage of electricity.
The corporation came up with two initiatives: load management and load shedding, to control power usage as the demand and supply was not balancing.
BPC public relations officer, Sandy Mosarwa said in an interview that they were doing load management but the possibility of load shedding was high because Botswana was struggling with power challenges since Morupule B is operating on one unit.
Mosarwa said only Unit 1 is operating at full capacity and feeding 130 MW into the national grid. Units 2 and 3 experienced mechanical faults, but the BPC expected the former to be back before the end of the week. He could not tell when Unit 3 would be back to capacity as it only started experiencing problems last week.
“We are still allowing it to cool off before we start maintenance on it,” he said. “As for Unit 4, it is undergoing statutory outage for some time.” He explained that should the BPC feel that the load management system was not bearing results, it would resort to load shedding.
Mosarwa also explained that while Botswana received support from neighbouring countries, the supply was still not enough to meet the 540MW average daily consumption for the country.
“We get non-firm 100MW from Eskom and between 20 and 200MW from Mozambique,” he said. “It is not enough.”
The problem with Eskom is that it could shut down the supply to Botswana if South Africa faces supply challenges. Botswana also has Orapa and Matshelagabedi emergency power stations that produce 90MW and 70 MW. Load management system is aimed at limiting usage for houses and small businesses to 10 amps during peak hours from 6-10 pm. He, however, said this affects only five towns connected with smart metres. The affected towns are Selebi-Phikwe, Lobatse, Jwaneng, Francistown and Gaborone.
Mosarwa challenged the public to help conserve electricity. He reiterated the importance of switching off electrical appliances that were not needed.
“We can only help to conserve electricity by switching off some appliances we can live without such as geysers,” he added. “Use it only when it is necessary.”
He warned that until Morupule B is up to three units, load management and load shedding would continue.