The continuous power cutsexperienced in the city ofGaborone are said to havebecome another contributing factorto road traffi c accidents, especiallyat traffi c lights intersections. Thiswas revealed by the City Mayor,Haskins Nkaigwa on Monday at afull council meeting. The mayorobserved that traffi c lights are frequentlydisrupted by power cuts.“Power outages have resulted inan increase of road accidents especiallyduring the night. It has alsocontributed to traffi c congestionacross the city due to interruptionsin operation of traffi c lights.To address the situation we arein the process of procuring powerbackups (UPS) to install on busytraffi c lights junctions.
In cases ofpower cuts, these power backupswill be able to supply power for atleast four hours,” the mayor said reassuringcity dwellers.As short term mitigation measures,he said GCC has engagedsome of their offi cers to patrol andfi x the lights on daily basis. He furthersaid they are doing everythingpossible to make life easier for citizens,adding that “currently we arein talks with a private companywhich has interested us in solarpowered streetlights and negotiationsare underway for a pilot run insome of our roads.
We are also innegotiation with yet another privatecompany to conduct an experimentaltrail by means of supplying andinstalling LED streetlights; these aresaid to be saving power in excess of80 per cent of the normal lights thatare in use.”In an interview with The Gazette,Nkaigwa said Letsatsi RenewableEnergy Company is tasked withthe supply and installation of LEDstreetlights whilst Solar Hart Companywill provide UPS power backups.He further said that LED streetlightswill be piloted along theWestern-by-pass from MolapoCrossing- Rainbow roundabout-Game City roundabout, whilst thesolar powered lights will be alongthe New Lobatse road to the oldNokia Warehouse traffi c lights.
Meanwhile, he said the GCC wasdoing its level best to ensurethat the city is lit at all times, lamentingfurther that the effortsare frustrated by the rampantvandalism and theft of electricalcables. It is understood that,streetlights cables worth P90,000.00 have been stolen recentlyin Block 10 and anotherkind of theft has just surfacedalong A1 road to Francistownnear Sebele where culprits cutstreetlights cables from thestreetlight pole footing and pullcables out. “So far no one hasbeen arrested for these but theyhit hard at our drying up coffers,”said the distressed Mayor.He further implored governmentto expedite the operationof the Morupule B Power plantto relieve the nation of the constantpower cuts.
He said the extended hoursof load shedding recently circulatedby BPC make it very difficult for Batswana in terms ofplanning for their needs both athome and businesses. “We waitwith bated breaths for July 2013for the President’s promiseon his recent visit to the plantthat it will be fully operationalhence restoring the power supplywe yearn dearly. Businessesare suffering huge losses andthe alternatives such as backupgenerators do not come cheap,”he said.