money & power

Namibia- South African parastatel Eskom has turned the tables and is now resorting to power imports from Namibian power generation company NamPower to help keep the lights on, a NamPower official told Sapa on Monday.

‘We are currently exporting up to 200MW of electricity to South Africa’, confirmed Werner Graupe, senior manager for energy trading at NamPower.

In previous dry seasons NamPower imported 55% of its total energy consumption from Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia. An estimated 42% of Namibian energy was imported from Eskom.

The excess generated power is the result from heavy rain periods over the Kunene River, on the border of Angola, the location area of the Ruacana hydropower plant. NamPower has the ability to export during non-peak times, when their domestic usage is low.

‘Due to the good rains experienced in the area, particularly southern Angola, the Kunene River flows strongly, sometimes at 300 cubic metres per second, driving the turbines at the power plant, and we can export up to 200MW off-peak’, Graupe said.

Eskom has been battling to curb rolling blackouts in the country due to aged infrastructure, lack of funds and low diesel reserves, causing disruptions for local industries.

The actions of Eskom have resulted in further strategic decisions needed to be made in other parts of Southern Africa, including Lesotho.

On Sunday, the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) announced that it would be raising domestic electricity tariffs for 2015/16 to offset the increased import costs from Eskom and the Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), StarAfrica reported.

Both Eskom and EDM have pushed their costs up to 12% and 10% for 2015/16 respectively. With Eskom’s recent power battles, the rising import costs are the result of this.

The regulator said that ‘the company (LEWA) is seeking a tariff increase of 18.32 percent increase on both energy and maximum demand charges for the financial year 2015/16’.

In addition, the tariff hike is necessary to perform much needed maintenance and repairs to its aged infrastructure, the Lesotho Electricity Company said.

Consumer feedback on this proposal is welcomed by LEWA until 4 February 2015 at 17:00 to which the final decision will be made. Comments can be sent to the Economic Regulation Department economics@lewa.org.ls

 

(Pic Credits: dreamstime)