Southern electricity distributor in the works

After years of delay, the Electricity Control Board says it will roll out a regional electricity distributor for the southern regions by the end of July.

07 February 2020 | Energy

The Electricity Control Board (ECB) of Namibia is confident that plans to set up a southern regional electricity distributor (RED) before August will materialise.

The establishment of a RED in the south has been planned for a long time, but its implementation has been dogged by delays. The ECB had originally planned for the southern RED to become operational in 2018. Three REDs are currently in existence - Nored, Cenored and Erongo RED.

Once operational, residents of towns and villages in the south contracted to the southern RED will buy electricity directly from the distributor, as is done in towns such as Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Walvis Bay and Otavi.

ECB CEO Foibe Namene said the southern RED's rollout was now planned for July 2020.

“It is envisaged that the southern RED will become operational July 2020 or even earlier, pending approval of the relevant agreements,” Namene said.

According to her, the southern RED's business plan, shareholder agreement and asset transfer agreement had been endorsed by its shareholders' committee.

“Once the necessary approvals are obtained, the process to operationalise the southern RED will start,” she said, adding that consultations to establish a similar RED in the greater Windhoek area would also commence in due course.

“It is foreseen that the establishment of the central RED will be during the first quarter of 2021,” she said.

The establishment of the southern RED came about as a result of an electricity distribution industry summit in 2014. The exit of the Southern Electrical Company (Selco) gave renewed impetus to the establishment of the regional distributor.

Highlighting the advantages of regional electricity distributors, Namene said the three existing REDs have been effective at refurbishing and replacing aged assets and managed to contain and reduce network losses.

“The REDs' contribution to the supply of electricity throughout Namibia has undoubtedly been a success,” said Namene.

“RED business operations are viable and shareholders receive dividends. For local authorities and regional councils it further means that they can be assured that their electricity functions are performed by a competent entity, with the capacity to provide good quality electricity services at required standards to their consumers.”

OGONE TLHAGE

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