There is no better alternative to Regional Electricity Distributors
There is no better alternative than the current Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs). This was said by the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Electricity Constrol Board (ECB), Rojas Manyame, during yesterday’s technical conference by the Association of Electricity Distribution Undertakings (AEDU) in Namibia.
While emphasizing the importance of the REDs, Manyame revealed that Namibia will soon get its fourth Regional Electricity Distributor (RED). “We are currently busy finalizing the restructuring of the REDs. The fourth RED, the Southern RED (SORED), will be established soon. It will happen before the end of the year,” Manyame said during the conference. Currently there are three operating REDs in Namibia: Erongo RED, Northern RED (NORED) and Central North RED (CENORED).
The one-day-conference is being attended by various stakeholders from the electricity supply sector in Namibia. The conference did begin on a sour note though as the Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, was not present and was supposed to deliver the key note address. “Unfortunately, there is no representative from the ministry and we have not received approval for the speech to be read,” said the master of ceremonies. Manyame, who was next in line to give his presentation, added that “it would have been fitting for the Minister to be here.”
During his presentation Manyame gave a brief overview of the responsibilities by the ECB as well as what the ECB will focus on in 2017. Amongst the focus points are service delivery, security of electricity supply, infrastructure development and industry performance. Manyame said that Namibia, being a net importer of electricity, imports more than 60% of its demand during certain times. “In the white paper on Energy Policy it is our target to become energy independent. This target has not been achieved yet,” he said.
To augment the electricity supply in the country, government has over the past welcomed independent power producers (IPP), who are expected to complement government. Manyame continued saying that during this year independent power producers license holders will be monitored more closely. “Licensees must comply with regulatory compliance, otherwise they will be hit with a hard fine,” he said.
While addressing the energy supply situation Manyame said that the establishment of the Regional Electricity Distributors about 15 years ago was reviewed during a summit in 2016 and that outcome was obvious: there is no better alternative. Stakeholders have been continuously engaged and “they are now understanding the importance of REDs,” he said.
The establishment of REDs has been a bone of contention for many years. Manyame is confident though that the Southern RED will be operational soon, where after the establishment of the Central RED will be discussed in the near future. A participant of the conference had asked what is the problem of the Central RED, that this has not happened yet. “REDs are established systematically and once SORED is up and running, we will discuss the future of the Central RED,” Manyame said.