The Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Sadiuqe Kebonang says all units at Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Morupule B power station are functional. Kebonang was answering a question in Parliament from Specially Elected Member Bogolo Kenewendo who wanted to know the current production of power by BPC and how many units of Morupule B are currently functional.
“As of last Friday, all the four units of BPC were functional,” Kebonang answered. Kebonang’s answer contrasts with Office of the Auditor General (OAG), Pulane Letebele’s new report which cites that Morupule B Power Station had not operated to full capacity since it was commissioned and it will take four (4) years to be fully operational if all defects are addressed.
“A root cause and gap analysis had been performed to the specified standard by the Corporation and the works were anticipated to be completed over a period of four years,” Office of the Auditor General says, adding that the impairment assessment performed had been based on the fair value method assuming that all defects would be satisfactorily repaired and within the planned timelines. The Office of the Auditor General also stated that impairment assessment assumed the continued and escalated subsidy by the Government.
BPC has revealed that the malfunctioning multibillion Pula Morupule B has become a burden to the utility company. The loss making BPC advised government that in its current condition Morupule B is too expensive to run/operate and it seeks to dispose of the plant to save costs. In order to get rid of the financial burden of the plant, BPC says the 600 MW power plant will be in the hands of a private owner in the 1st month (January) of 2018. BPC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Stefan Schwarzfischer told this publication that they are running the process of selling Morupule B jointly with the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB).
Kebonang advised that BPC has commenced on initiatives to improve systems, in order to reliably supply power to customers with minimal interruptions from rain or storm. “The Ministry and BPC aim to address as many issues as possible before the upcoming rainy season,” he told Parliament. As part of the initiative Kebonang added that all the BPC Operational functions, Generation Transmission and Distribution and Supply Chains have been placed under a single operations team in order to eliminate silos which had over the years weakened BPC’s focus on the end customer’s actual service experience. In addition, Kebonang said BPC is embarking on an effort to engage all employees, customers, and the public at large to serve as “eyes and ears” to identify and report any and every damaged, faulty and vulnerable looking BPC equipment.
Informing Parliament that BPC Operations has commenced action a comprehensively listing of significant capital expenditure, Kebonang advised that required backlog and maintenance on the network to ensure that known faulty equipment and equipment receive priority. The maintenance was required to ensure resilience and reduce redundancy in the network, he noted.
In addition, Kebonang advised that BPC is currently undertaking preventative maintenance which includes amongst others cutting of trees and vines that have grown around power lines; removal of birds’ nests and any other accumulation of debris in and around BPC equipment, together with maintenance and replacement of transformers and other equipment that deteriorates over time.
Kebonang says he is aware of instances where the distribution network, that ultimately delivers power to homes and businesses is vulnerable to rains, wind and storms. “I am also aware that failure in the electricity distribution network can affect water supply and can result in other losses to business and property,” he said, adding that the initiatives are a direct response to those concerns and others.