NamPower halts power disconnection to defaulting customers

Martin Endjala

NamPower, Namibia’s national electricity supplier, has agreed to halt its plans to disconnect defaulting customers’ electricity supply until the end of August 2023.

The power corporation announced in a statement, that the decision follows a successful consultative meeting between the Board of Directors and Management and the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprise.

During the meeting, the Minister reassured NamPower that the government has deployed intervention measures aimed at helping the state-owned enterprise to collect the debt owed by defaulting customers.

The government programme implemented needed measures have been put in motion and will run until the end of August 2023 and the Minister will further make necessary recommendations to the government.

The Minister initially directed NamPower to temporarily suspend its plans to disconnect power last week Monday in a letter directed to the board, however, the Utility disregarded this directive and stood its ground that it will continue with its debt collection plan.

However, NamPower defended its action citing that the directive was sent to it late while it had already initiated the suspension of electricity in the defaulting localities.

This arrogant move as described by some quarters, saw the Utility receiving fire on both ends, as the public immediately echoed their anger towards the entity, with some even going to the extent of calling on the President to bring it to order.

The company said that the debt collection plan is necessary for the financial sustainability of NamPower and its stakeholders as well as the sustainable electricity supply for the country. The Utility is owed N$1.5 billion by Local Authorities.

Meanwhile, in response to the announcement of the postponement of the power outage by the entity, Landless People’s Movement Youth Leader said that NampPower’s move is one welcomed decision given the winter season that is upon us and the ongoing examinations of schools.

She further lamented that the suspension of electricity is affecting local authorities whose debts she says, were incurred during the apartheid regime, which is why it makes it almost impossible to pay it all off right now.

She added by saying that, this was one of the reasons why the LPM took it upon itself to table a motion in parliament calling for all water and electricity debts of local authorities to be written off and start a new clean page.

“It is very commendable of them for taking such a decision, but in so doing this will, of course, affect them in a way, because of their operational costs, that’s why the government needs to step in and see how they can perhaps subsidize this debt.

Furthermore, the member of parliament in the National Council Paulus Mbangu maintained that NamPower needs to stop acting as an independent entity and act like a parastatal, adding that it cannot be going against governments directives, which are intended to help save the plight of the people.

The latter also reprimanded the Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (NoRED) for failing to up its game to ensure that its customers are not affected by power suspensions.

He also questioned the manner NoRED has been conducting its finances of late, given the N$270 million that it owes to NamPower.

The MP informed this publication, that an urgent consultative meeting was held last week in Rundu in the Kavango East region, was most of the Northern region’s leadership attended including local and regional Councils to discuss the status quo of NoRED. A technical committee has been appointed to look into the issues hampering NoRED and to see how best to help the entity from paying off this debt, despite maintaining that they do not owe NoRED any cent, he added that every cent paid to it by its customers ought to have been paying NamPower.

Mbangu also feels that the two-month suspension is not enough for defaulters to find extra funds elsewhere to pay off their debts, therefore opening that NamPower, should rather do away with cutting off electricity and find another alternative.

In its statement, NamPower is calling on defaulters to pay their dues to enable the company to continue delivering on its mandate to supply adequate security and electricity to the entire country.

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