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Electricity imports escalates in Q2

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Electricity imports escalates in Q2
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A noticeable decrease in electricity generation has resulted in an insignificant increase in imports of electricity in the second quarter of 2017, as the country’s power utility sought to close the generation gap and avert possible blackouts, recent figures from Statistics Botswana have shown.

Although the quarter-on-quarter comparison reflects a decrease of 3.4 percent from 166.1 recorded during the first quarter of 2017, the latest Index of Electricity Generation during the second quarter of 2017 reflects an increase of 38.8 percent as compared to 115.7 recorded in the same quarter of 2016.

In the past, the country’s sole power utility in Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) had to seek to close the generation gap and avert possible power blackouts by importing electricity from neighboring countries like South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique.

And indeed latest figures on electricity generation, importation and distribution are showing an analogous trend where imports usually covers up for a decline in power generation.

Electricity being imported from the neighboring countries showed a slight increase during the period under review, latest figures have indicated.

“The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that electricity generated during the second quarter of 2017 decreased by 3.4 percent (23,404 MWH) as compared to the previous quarter (first quarter of 2017),” reads part of the stats brief on electricity generation and distribution.

According to Statistics Botswana, the decrease is partly attributed to the reduced use of emergency power generators.

It can be also observed that there was an increase in imported electricity during the quarter to offset the decrease in generation.

Statistics Botswana indicated that the volume of imported electricity stood at 224 318 MWH during the second quarter of 2017, giving a decrease of 47.8 percent (244 534 MWH) over the importation of 468 852 MWH during the second quarter of the previous year.

“The quarter-on-quarter comparison of imported electricity shows an increase of 18.7 percent (35 226 MWH), from 189 052 MWH during the first quarter of 2017 to 224,318 MWH during the period under review,” Statistics Botswana observed.

Statistics Botswana explained that this increase in imported electricity was necessitated by the decrease in generation.

BPC imported 24.9 percent (152 659 MWH) of its power needs during the period under review, statistics revealed.

The imports were predominantly from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) accounting for 68.1 percent, South Africa’s Eskom (20.2 percent), Namibia Power Corporation and the Electricidade de Mozambique at 6.5 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.