ESBI plugs in for some tough work in Botswana

Brendan Ogle: If the ESB thought having to deal with the demands  of the former union leader  was a headache, just wait until its consultants get a load of the shenanigans at BPC

Brendan Ogle: If the ESB thought having to deal with the demands of the former union leader was a headache, just wait until its consultants get a load of the shenanigans at BPC

Fri, Apr 25, 2014, 01:03

The ESB, fresh from recent battles with its unions that led to threats of power outages for Christmas, must be a glutton for punishment.

Its ESB International (ESBI) consulting arm has just been appointed to run Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the African state’s bedraggled power utility, for the next three years.

Botswana’s government recently announced the appointment of ESBI over the heads of existing management, to try and save the troubled company from going down the pan. ESB declined to confirm its appointment, but it is known to have been in talks.

If ESB thought having to deal with the demands here of former union leader Brendan Ogle was a headache, just wait until its consultants get a load of the shenanigans at BPC.

An editorial in the local Sunday Standard newspaper, welcoming ESBI’s appointment, sets out some of the problems facing BPC. It says the company has assets of only about €100 million, but debts of three times as much.

The article also alleged that BPC “has for a very long time been allowed to become a feeding pot . . . for bogus Chinese contractors”.

Botswana Power appears to be afflicted by labour problems, grid problems and overbearing interference from nosy politicians.

Perhaps it could be just a normal day at the office for the ESB guys, after all.

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