- Utility’s executives cite lockdowns, business closures, and loss of household incomes for decreasing sales
The COVID-19 pandemic has weighed down on the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), decreasing sales revenue as a number of households and businesses closed shop, the utility’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Oaitse Ramasedi, has said.
Speaking at a public hearing organised by Botswana Regulatory Authority (BERA) for BPC’s application for a tariff increase of 5 percent for the year 2022/23, Ramasedi said power sales declined by P88.8 million during the financial year 2020/21 due to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in lockdowns, business closures and loss of household incomes.
“Income from the mining sector reduced by 5 percent to P633.8 million against a budgeted P669.3 million,” he noted. The non-mining sector contributed P3.39 billion to BPC’s coffers, which resulted in a negative variance of P53.34 million caused by below budget sales by commercial customers.
Ramasedi explained that BPC’s customer base has grown over the years and now stands at 519,000 made up 483,000 domestic and 29,000 commercial customers. The domestic sector recorded the highest growth and now accounts for most of the utility’s customer base.
He noted that growth in the commercial sector has mostly been from Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) over the years. Until around 2016, the mining sector accounted for most of BPC’s power consumption, but this has been coming down gradually over the years because of the closure of a number of mines that culminated in the closure of BCL in 2016.
Also speaking at the public hearing, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), David Kgoboko, said profitability of BPC remains a challenge due to the low availability of Morupule B and non-cost reflective tariffs. Even so, he promised that the Corporation would offer competitive tariffs over time as remedial works at Morupule B improve availability.