Riccardo Ridolfi

In southern Africa, the government of Namibia is introducing the national electricity support tariff, which is intended to make electricity more affordable for low-income households.

The pilot project was launched last week at Oshakati, with Oshakati Premier Electric (OPE) as the local implementing agent, The Namibian reported.

Media reported that the project will be fully implemented on 1 August, and is expected to enable the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Electricity Control Board (ECB) to validate the benefits before the project is rolled out nationally next year.

Oshakati deputy mayor Ndamononghenda Hamunyela said the pilot project will benefit approximately 2,500 people in the town.

National electricity support tariff

According to The Namibian, the initiative is for domestic electricity consumption only, and is intended to provide financial relief to low-income consumers.

OPE chief executive officer Nelson Sheya, explained that the electricity subsidy is meant for customers consuming 15 amps and less.

Customers will pay N$1.15 ($0.07) per unit for the first 50 units, instead of the normal rate of N$2.06 ($0.15) per unit, and then pay N$1,61 ($0.07) per unit when buying 51 to 200 units.

In a speech the energy minister, Obeth Kandjoze, said the major cause for the increasing cost of electricity in Namibia is the steadily rising cost of generation, transmission and distribution.

In some countries, tariffs are subsidised by government, while Namibian consumers pay for the costs in full, media reported.

Electricity costs

Kandjoze said electricity costs more in Namibia than in some southern African countries because of Namibia’s cost-reflective tariffs. Read more…

“Utilities with non-cost-reflective tariffs will be unable to supply electricity effectively, and constantly rely on government subsidies,” he stated.

The idea of subsidised electricity for low-income households was first proposed in 2012, and national electricity support tariff was conceived by the ECB on behalf of the energy ministry and approved by Cabinet last year, media reported.

Kandjoze said 71% of Namibians living in urban areas had access to electricity by 2011, while rural inhabitants with access to electricity stood at 19%.

The minister also underlined that Namibians without access to electricity do not enjoy the same benefits as their counterparts who have access to power.

Featured image source: 123rf