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Electricity tariffs likely to increase - Moagi

12 Apr 2023

Electricity tariffs charged by Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) are below the cost per unit of supplying electricity to customers and therefore likely to steadily and progressively increase until they reach cost recovery levels.

This was revealed by Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mr Lefoko Moagi in response to a parliamentary question on Tuesday. 

Mr Moagi said in a bid to attain cost reflective tariffs, BPC had applied to the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) to consider the tariff increase.

On the other hand, the minister told Parliament that BPC exported electricity to the Southern African Power Pool when supply exceeded demand.

Mr Moagi said such internal generation was produced during off-peak times and was dependent on the performance of Morupule B Power Station.

He indicated that in the 2022/2023 financial year, BPC had exported electricity amounting to P113 million surpassing the record maximum of P38.5 million, which was realised in 2018.

“This is a significant improvement of 258 per cent,” he said.

Parliament also learnt that Morupule B was undergoing defects remediation to improve the reliability of the plant and security of the power supply for the country.

In the long term, he said the ministry was implementing the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which entailed developing new generation projects that would contribute to a new generation mix comprising coal, solar and gas-based generation.

“The new generation capacity will be provided by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) selling power to BPC and it is expected that 300MW of coal-based new generation would be on the grid by the end of 2026 while 235MW of solar PV generation will be commissioned between 2024 and 2026,” he added.

Mr Moagi said Kgatleng villages along the Limpopo River were expected to be connected to the national electricity grid by the end of July when the Mochudi substation and connection lines would be completed.

Furthermore, he said a tender to engage contractors to connect Borolong villages of Mokatako, Leporung, Dikhukhung and Sedibeng to the national grid had been awarded and the project was also anticipated to be completed by the end of July.

“The remaining villages in the area will be connected once the 66kv substation and lines from Lobatse are constructed. 

A portion of the budget for the project has been provided in the 2023/2024 and the rest will be provided in the 2024/2025 budget,” he added.

On the other hand, he said transfer of Kgalagadi South villages from the South African Eskom grid to the local national grid required development of a 520km of 220kv line from Thamaga to Tsabong and 280km of 33kv line from Tsabong to Werda and Bokspits.

“The project is at the preparation stage and is planned to be completed by 2025/2026.

The Environmental and Social Impact Assessments and the engineering consultancy studies will commence this financial year,” he said.

Parliament also learnt about the remedial works on unit No.4 the first of which to be remedied were completed in September last year The unit has since been back in operation.

“Some technical challenges were experienced in one of the boiler components and the deficiency in the design is being corrected after a root cause analysis was conducted to determine the root cause,” he said.

He added that the remaining three units were scheduled to undergo remediation in sequence from January next year to May 2026. 

Furthermore, the minister told Parliament that the recently completed project, which entailed construction of a 132v line from Legotlhwane to Ghanzi, had successfully managed to transfer Ghanzi from the Namibian supply.

He said the project was to develop transmission infrastructure to achieve the latter and a distribution network still had to be constructed to connect Kuke and Qabo.

“The current provision towards the village electrification project is only P50 million and unfortunately has not catered for these villages. 

The plan is to include them in the 2024/2025 financial year,” he said.

On other issues, he said the country’s dependable generation capacity from Morupule A and B power stations was 450MW and was inadequate to meet the national electricity demand, which ranged from 380MW off-peak to 650MW at peak.

In that regard, he said, in the short to the medium term, power imports and the dispatch of diesel generators would be required to meet peak load.

Member of Parliament for Ghanzi North, Mr John Thiite had asked the minister to appraise Parliament on information purporting that Botswana had adequate power supply to meet the country’s demand and was on the verge of exporting power to South Africa.

Mr Thiite also wanted to know when villages that were still connected to the South African grid would be disconnected from it and connect them to the national grid. The legislator also asked the minister to update on the progress of Morupule B Power Station defects remedial works and when the plant was expected to be fully operational.

He also wanted to know if the electricity tariffs were anticipated to go down or escalate in the future upon completion of Morupule B Power Station defects remedial works and when the new power generation projects in clean solar and clean coal technologies would be implemented.

Further, Mr Thiite wanted to know the state of adequate and supply of power to Kuke and Qabo settlements, taking into account that Ghanzi was now connected to the newly commissioned Legotlhwane-Ghanzi 220kv transmission line.

He also wanted the minister to state in which financial year in the two-year Transitional National Development Plan was Government’s Rural Electrification Programme going to connect Qabo and Kuke. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : Gaborone


Date : 12 Apr 2023