The Swaziland Electric Company (SEC) has employed full scale load-shedding owing to power constraints emanating from Eskom’s struggle to keep up with demand for electricity. Eskom supplies SEC with approximately 80 per cent of their power requirement.
A local news source, reported that the utility had reportedly switched off power to 23 areas in the kingdom just yesterday.
Those affected took to social media and expressed their frustration at the fact that government has not yet to put a strategic plan in place to avert the country’s power crisis. In addition Swaziland does not have a thermal power station which it had been seeking a prospecting license five years ago.
Mandla Ntshakala of the Swaziland Consumer Forum (SWACOF) said that the impact of load shedding country was ‘far reaching’ – largely affecting SMEs and having ripple effects in wider economy.
It is reported also that SEC’s contract with Eskom will expire in the next 10 years, meaning that government needs to come up with a plan, and quickly.
‘We are sad to notify the nation that the load shedding exercise has already begun which was mainly caused by the difficulties that are faced in South Africa where SEC purchases most of its electricity,’ SEC Corporate Communications Manager Sifiso Dhlamini told the Observer.
The state’s Government Programme of Action Plan (2013-2018), released last year included plans to build a 300MW thermal power station, which is estimated to take five years to build – but what was concerning said the Times of Swaziland, was that ‘construction of the power station seems not to be in government’s priority capital projects’.