14 January 2008 – Consumers in Botswana are set to experience higher electricity tariffs and supply shortages in 2008, as Eskom, Botswana’s main supplier, reduces exports and increases prices.
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) said that price increases were unavoidable, as Eskom had been granted a 14.2% tariff increase by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa for the 2008/09 financial year.
"We can confirm that the price increases in South Africa do affect the cost of imports as cost of supply is driven by costs of imports, local generation, transmission, distribution, infrastructure and service costs, all of which must ultimately be recovered from electricity users," said Adelaide Alidi, BPC assistant public relations officer.
75% of Botswana’s power is imported from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), of which the main supplier is Eskom.
"The power requirements for Botswana in terms of maximum demand is currently 500MW of which 75% is imported from the SAPP, the major portion from Eskom. Twenty-five% (120MW) of our requirements is sourced from our own Morupule Power Station."
"The new five-year supply contract with Eskom does scale down supplies to Botswana annually from 01 January 2008. The BPC is acutely aware of the situation in South Africa, and all SAPP members are expected to respond and support the region from time to time," Alidi said.
"From 2008 to 2011 demand is projected to outstrip supply. Supply becomes constrained due to limitation on imports resulting from generation constraints prevailing in the region.
"According to our load forecasts, supply gaps would be experienced during peak load times in 2008 and mostly in 2009. A significant supply gap of up to 250MW could be experienced in 2010 if no measures are put in place to bridge the gap," she added.
Botswana launched a National Energy Efficiency Campaign last year, however, this does not mean that supply constraints have been relieved.
Said Alidi, "We are also exploring possible partnerships with other SAPP members to release additional generation capacity from existing generation assets."
The expected shortfall in generation capacity has prompted a call for an expression of interest from independent power producers (IPPs) for the construction of a power plant.
"The IPP call for an expression of interest is a contingency measure to cover the supply gap in the event the Morupule Power Station Expansion Project (which is planned for 2010) is delayed," Alidi concluded.