Nampower’s defaulters to face load shedding from June…Debt exceeds N$1 Billion

Niël Terblanché

About three-quarters of Namibia’s population is staring into the dark abyss of chronic electricity supply interruption because of bad debt. Outstanding debt to the National Power Corporation, NamPower has escalated to more than N$1 billion.
In an announcement issued by NamPower’s Managing Director, Simson Haulofu, the utility company said that it set to introduce a gradual disconnection schedule to two regional electricity distributors, one regional council and 19 local authorities across the country.
This gradual interruption schedule will leave the four most densely populated regions of the country, residents of Windhoek and large swathes of the south without power for four hours per day.
“The situation has concerned NamPower for a considerable time, and we had several interventions with various stakeholders in this regard. If this state of affairs is left without our further action, it will detrimentally affect our duty to supply electricity to the entire country on a sustainable basis. Despite past appeals to the customers with overdue accounts, very few are making an effort to settle their outstanding accounts,” Haulofu said.
The two regional electricity distributors, CenoRED and NoRED, the Karars Regional Council, the Groot Aub and Brakwater areas of the City of Windhoek, Rehoboth, Mariental, Karasburg, Gobabis, Aranos, Lüderitz, Gibeon, Maltahohe, Bethanie, Tses, Koës, Leonardville, Berseba, Kalkrand, Stampriet, Gochas, Witvlei and Aroab will be left without electricity supply.
According to Haulofu, the interruption is scheduled to start on 5 June 2023 and will initially only stop supply for four hours per day between 11:00 and 15:00. In the first week, or Stage 1, supply will be cut on a Monday. Every week that goes by without payment to the national utility company, an interruption day will be added until the schedule reaches Stage 7.
From Stage 7 onwards, two hours of electricity interruption will be added to each time period which at Stage 9 will leave Namibians without electricity for eight hours per day.
“In consideration of the above and to limit the continued escalation of debts, NamPower will commence with the suspension of electricity supply to defaulting customers unless the outstanding overdue amounts are settled before 5 June 2023,” Haulofu said.
The power utility said that a significant portion of the more than N$1 billion is way overdue.
“To encourage customers to settle their debts, the company has resolved to extend a debt settlement incentive whereby NamPower will write off the interest portion of the outstanding debt accrued over the preceding 12 months period in the event that the customer settles the outstanding amount in full on or before 31 May 2023,” Haulofu stated.
The company pointed out that the incentive will be limited to interest charged on that specific outstanding capital amount up to a maximum of 12 months.
The announcement defined defaulting customers as all those in breach of settlement terms as per the Power Supply Agreements as well as those who have defaulted on the extended settlement arrangements already in place.
The Manager of Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Participation at the City of Windhoek, Harold Akwenye has denied that the city has fallen behind with payments to NamPower.
“The arrears the CoW are in were merely an administrative oversight. Payments to all our service providers such as NamWater and Nampower are up to date. The outstanding N$500 000 is attributed to the additional boreholes that the city created in order to pump and supply Groot Aub and Mix settlements with sustainable water. Our finance department has made payment arrangements to have the outstanding balance settled as soon as possible,” Akwenye said.
Akwenye added that the city is not experiencing any difficulties in paying its creditors and that it will prioritise all outstanding invoices.
“The City will continue to honour its payment terms with its service providers,” he stated.
The Mayor of Oshakati, Leonard Hango, said residents will not be affected by the planned interruption schedule.
“Oshakati is not supplied by NoRED. Like the City of Windhoek, we are directly supplied by NamPower. We distribute electricity to our consumers through a contractor and that will save us from being cut off from the national grid,” he said.
Hango pointed out that neither Oshakati nor its distribution contractor are in arrears with NamPower.
Meanwhile, Henny Seibeb, the Deputy Leader and Chief Strategist of the Landless People’s Movement said that the party will have to engage local and regional councils in the south that will be affected by NamPower’s decision in a consultation process to see how best to address the problem.
“We might be able to provide a solution by the end of next week,” he said.

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