Eskom diverting power to Botswana as SA faces blackouts


A Johannesburg community is taking Eskom to court over pylons erected without their consent.

JOHANNESBURG - Power utility Eskom is diverting electricity to Botswana while South Africa faces rolling blackouts, the Sunday Times reported.

Botswana is facing a supply crisis after two units at its only major power plant, Morupule, were shut down in the past year when the boilers malfunctioned. This halved the plant&39;s output and forced Eskom to keep the country running, the newspaper reported.

"It is a serious problem but fortunately we have our region partners, such as Eskom, with whom we have a good relationship," Botswana Power Corporation spokesman Spencer Moreri was quoted as saying.

Morupule was designed to generate 600MW of the total peak need of 680MW, but could only deliver 300MW. Eskom supplied 90% of the shortfall.

Eskom spokesman Andrew Etzinger told the Sunday Times Eskom expected Botswana to be self-sufficient, but because of technical glitches it supplied the country with a third of Morupule&39;s previous capacity.

"But that would be reduced to zero in the event South Africa was subjected to rotational load-shedding," Etzinger was quoted as saying.

"Without supply from Eskom, Botswana would have had almost no electricity available, with significant harm resulting for that economy and for that of the region."

Eskom supplies electricity to neighbouring countries like Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho.

On Thursday and Friday, Eskom declared a power emergency.

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