The recently introduced Load Management programme by the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to manage household power usage is not a replacement of load shedding and the nation should expect blanket power outages from time to time, a BPC official has said.
The Load Management Programme is when all domestic metres are limited to using 10 amps between six and 10 in the morning and evening. This according to the corporation is enough for eight cfl lights and television only. During this time users are expected to switch off everything else failing which they are cut off for an hour, or another four hours if over use continues thereafter.
According to Sandy Mosarwa, a public relations officer at the BPC, the programme is currently limited to Gaborone, Francistown, Selibe Phikwe and Jwaneng. And because the situation is controlled remotely it can only be carried out where BPC clients use smart metres. Other towns and villages are currently not affected because they have not yet converted to the new smart metres.
The programme started on the 4th of May, and will be implemented until further notice. Mosarwa, however, noted that people must not confuse the programme with the load shedding that has over the years been roped in whenever there was power shortage. "The load management programme is only carried out as the first step to address power shortages, whenever the situation gets worse, load shedding will be implemented,” said Mosarwa.
The country currently gets power from Morupule B Power station, where only two out of the four units are working. The other supply is from South Africa but because of pressure in their own supply and demand chain, Eskom at times curtail the supply to outside users like Botswana to zero.
Government negotiated a 300 megawatt power deal with Eskom, of which only 100 MW is firm and the availability of the balance dependent on South Africa's own requirements. The South African utility is itself struggling to satisfy local demand.
The power situation, according to Mosarwa, will be under a lot of pressure this winter season because of the obvious reason of low generation of power by the power corporation and the high demand that is associated with the winter season. “BPC is working around the clock to fix the situation at its Morupule B Power Station,” said Mosarwa, adding that until then the nation should learn to live with and expect power outages now and then.
Technical faults at Morupule B have included boiler failures, blockages, leakages and the non-compliance with safety standards.