Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 22 November 2010 – South African state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings Limited “’ the largest provider of power in southern Africa “’ is reducing supplies to Botswana as it struggles to meet demand in its home country.
“Eskom has cut its maximum supply to Botswana “’ the world’s largest diamond-producing nation “’ by 40% to 250 megawatts (MW) in the past two years,” it said in an e-mailed reply to queries. “The current agreement will continue to decline in capacity until the end of 2012 when it expires.”
Bloomberg News reports that funding constraints have delayed Eskom’s R485 billion capacity expansion programme aimed at preventing repeats of shortages that temporarily shut platinum and gold mines in South Africa in January 2008. Eskom’s surplus is at times as low as 5%, against its target of 15%, said Mbulelo Ncetezo, electricity manager of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), at a conference in Johannesburg.
Eskom supplied about 410MW to Botswana prior to 2008 and Botswana will start the Morupule coal-fired power plant with 600MW of capacity in 2012, the power producer said.
Botswana has electricity shortages that may worsen over the next two years, energy minister Ponatshego Kedikilwe said earlier this year. Debswana Diamond Company “’ a joint venture between De Beers and the government of Botswana “’ is building a 90MW power plant to supply electricity to two of its mines.