Public Hearings Turn Up Worries BERA

Rose Seretse PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Rose Seretse PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

The Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) has expressed concern that Batswana do not turn up to their public hearings on tariff increases. BERA, which is responsible for providing an efficient energy regulatory framework for electricity, cooking gas, coal, petroleum products, solar and all forms of renewable energy, has started conducting public hearings to get the public views on planned Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) electricity tariff increases.

There has been public outrage whenever BPC increases electricity tariffs. Last year, BERA nodded to BPC’s request to increase electricity tariffs by 22%, a move that got the public infuriated. Consumers took to social media platforms to vent out their anger and frustration over BERA’s decision to award the power utility a tariff increase at a time when the economy and households were facing mounting crises from the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2021, BERA yet again gave BPC the green light to increase electricity tariffs by three percent, in a move which the power utility said was geared towards bringing electricity costs to market levels.
All these increases have drawn public criticism as consumers feel they are way too excessive. When appearing before the Parliamentary Committee of Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises recently, BERA’s chief executive officer (CEO) Rose Seretse said they conduct BPC tariff increase public hearings to get the views of the consumers on planned increases but unfortunately very few people turn up. “We conduct these hearings to get the views of Batswana. Unfortunately, they don’t turn up in large numbers.

This is a concern. We appeal to the public to turn up in numbers so that their voices are heard. Some make representation like the Consumer Watchdog and their voices are taken on board,” Seretse said. Seretse said BPC will be able to meet the local electricity demand by 2024. He said the power utility will migrate to cost-reflective tariffs and stop these frequent electricity tariff increases. However, she said that will also depend on the situation with Morupule B, which is also expected to be fully operational by 2024.
Editor's Comment
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