The Botswana Power Corporation’s (BPC) load management system has urbanites hot under the collar, frustrated at being asked to again tighten belts when there is no room left to do so.
Under the programme, the BPC is limiting supply to urban areas in the peak hours (0600hrs to 1000hrs and 1800hrs to 2200hrs). Consumers who attempt to use more than the 10amp limit are automatically switched-off until the end of the peak period. Geysers, high powered fridges and stoves, swimming pool pumps and even ordinary appliances such as irons, are no-nos during this period.
“Postpone energy intensive activities to be done outside peak hours, this includes but not limited to ironing, cooking on electric stoves, washing using washing machines and others,” the BPC says.
Consumers are angry, having already suffered the worst of the load shedding that has characterised electricity supply in Botswana since 2009.
Nametso Julius, 25, of Block 9 in Gaborone said: “This is a scary experience for me. Most of the time when I get home tired from work, I find electricity gone. Imagine, I use electricity for almost everything. I cook, charge my phone, watch my television set using electricity.
“For me to bath I have to use electricity as I use the geyser and the peak hour is not ideal for me. I do not know why the BPC does not cut power in the industrial sites as they have back up while we do not.”
Miso Door, 23, of Block 10 in Gaborone complained: “This load shedding thing is very bad. At times BPC take their power while we are still cooking. At times we have to throw away our food as some food like maize meal cannot be cooked again after the electricity was cut when cooking.
“It returns after an hour when you have lost hope. Sometimes I go to bed hungry. It is very painful to wait till after 10pm to bath as BPC stated that we must not switch on our geysers before that time.
“We cannot even use the electric kettle as BPC also forbids us to use it. This is a total nightmare to most of us who practically use electricity for everything.” Maggie More, of Extension 10 in Gaborone said: “We do not use electricity that much, but we do experience power cuts. I do not know what criteria BPC uses when cutting electricity.
“We use a gas stove to cook and we do not have many electric appliances except a fridge and television set that we do not regularly watch, but still our power is cut. In our neighbourhood, you would find our yard dark as BPC had taken its electricity, but I believe we are the only yard that does not use a lot of electricity.”