The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is extending the national grid to 100 more villages this year, in a move that will extend electricity to nearly the whole country.
This Friday BPC CEO, Stefan Schwarzfischer reportedly told the Business Monitor that with 40 villages having been connected in 2016; 60 last year and the 100 due in this financial year, very few villages would be left without access to electricity.
“There will only be a few left that we will cater for in 2019, there’s not much left.
The easily accessible villages will be connected soon and we have another 20 which are very far off the grid and in that case, we have decided with the government to provide power through diesel generators and solar.”
The grid extension has been a national priority for several years, with the government’s position being that electricity provision is the bedrock of social upliftment, as development depends on reliable and stable power. The Government also persisted with its rural electrification strategy even during the most difficult periods of loadshedding in 2012, as policymakers argued in favour of the long-term benefits of enhancing the economy’s competitiveness.
BPC has just unveiled its ‘instant quotation’ initiative under which 10 of its centres countrywide now offer quotations for electricity connection within an hour of being requested. The Corporation has also committed to connecting the electricity within 14 days of payment being made. Officials said through greater commitment and efficient systems, the company has slashed the backlog on connections from 20,000 a year ago to a mere 2,000.
“We should have this down to zero in the next few months and we believe this is part of ensuring that more people are on the grid,” Schwarzfischer said.
The BPC’s rural electrification project and initiatives such as ‘instant quotation’ have seen its customer base balloon from 214.170 at the beginning of the decade to 410,000 by the end of last year. The Corporation’s customers are presently estimated at 420,000.