Botswana panics on SA power alert

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Mpho Tebele

Gaborone- Botswana is in a panic mode following a decision by the South African Power Utility, Eskom to issue a power alert to all its customers including the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).

BPC said that villages and some of its customers who are residing along the cross border areas and are directly supplied by Eskom would be affected.

There are fears that should Eskom pull the plug Botswana’s border posts that the country shares with South Africa would be affected and this is likely to affect business operations in those areas.

“Due to the system constraint there is a high probability of Eskom implementing Stage 1 rotational load shedding today, 31 July 2018.

BPC added that this means that should Eskom implement load shedding to manage its supply – demand balance situation, customers in Botswana are likely to be affected.

The local power utility said the rest of the country will be supplied by BPC directly, and will not experience any load shedding as our local capacity exceeds demand.

Reports from South African media indicate that Eskom on Tuesday evening announced stage 1 rotational load-shedding.

The power utility said this was “due to a shortage of capacity from the effects of the recent industrial action.”

Earlier, Eskom had warned consumers of the risk of rotational load-shedding.

The power utility stated Stage 1 load-shedding would only be implemented if absolutely necessary.

In a statement, Eskom explained that “The electricity system remains constrained with a high probability of Stage 1 rotational load-shedding this evening from 5 pm to 9 pm as a result of the industrial action which continues to impact operations at Eskom’s sites.”

Eskom confirmed they have sought the services of the  Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to resolve the conflict between them and the unions.

The company has also engaged the South African police service to monitor power stations.

“Eskom will advise if load-shedding will be conducted in either stage 1, stage 2, stage 3 or stage 4, dependent on the capacity shortage. Stage 1 requires 1,000MW to be rotationally load-shed nationwide, stage 2 requires 2,000MW, stage 3 requires 3,000MW and stage 4 calls for up to 4,000MW to be rotationally loadshed nationally at a given period,” the utility said in a statement.

“Load-shedding is conducted rotationally as a measure of last resort to protect the power system from a total collapse or blackout,” said Eskom.

The power utility encouraged electricity users to reduce their consumption to ease the demand for power, advising residents and businesses to switch off geysers and non-essential appliances during peak hours (05h00 -10h00 and 17h00 -22h00).

 

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