CoW won’t be able to supply electricity effectively

Martin Endjala

The Electricity Control Board (ECB) has warned that the City of Windhoek (CoW) which is the current distributor of electricity in the Khomas Region will not be able to continue to effectively and efficiently distribute electricity supply in the region in years to come.

To prepare for such scenarios, ECB’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kahimise, says that due to already small profit margins that are always decreasing, there is a need to consolidate the distribution assets, in this case, into a Regional Electricity Distributor (RED) sort of a model.

A RED is said to be on the cards, however, Kahimise explained that the CoW is hesitant about it.

“With arguments on the fact that they are the biggest electricity distributor in the region and some villages as demarcated and therefore do not see why they need a RED or a consolidated model since they already subsidise the region,” he said.

He explained that the envisaged central distributor was 80 percent of the City of Windhoek, due to the value of infrastructure and the size of the city, that’s why there is some level of resistance from CoW to RED. Maybe, in particular, what is in for us, because we are the strongest electricity distributor.

Kahimise stressed that CoW’s argument as the strongest distributor, they do not see why they must join a central RED where they cross-subsidies the Khomas region.

He said they are also looking at the smaller margins in electricity, revealing that they are getting less and less, and cautioned that the city won’t be able to continue to effectively and efficiently distribute electricity for several years to come.

Kahimise insisted that the proposal for a RED is not off the table and consultations are still ongoing, with some modifications also said to be done in the proposed RED which involves the National Utility Power (NamPower) and some rural distributors like Groot-Aub amongst others.

While responding to questions on the affordability of green energy, Kahimise explained that the notion that green energy alone will be able to address the energy issues should be done away with.

“There is no way where we can just strictly supply Namibia with green energy. We need some sort of energy links; hence the Modified Single Buy becomes crucial in this regard to consolidate the energy supply and not to solely depend on one source of energy,” said Kahimise.

He is of the opinion that the ECB is at the forefront to ensure that Namibia reduces its net energy import, particularly that of NamPower and Independent Power Producers seen as the revivals of the energy in Namibia via partnerships.

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