Nampower/Cenored in blame game

Power utilities, NamPower and Cenored have refused to own up to incessant power cuts that have become a normal feature in Opuwo, Khorixas, Fransfontein and Outjo Power for a decade long.

Electricity outages have become a norm for residents of these towns, with power cuts going two to three days leaving residents in the dark often causing damages to electrical appliances. Central Regional Electricity Distributor (Cenored) who is the power provider in those areas, as well as Nampower have been entangled in a blame game since both refuse to take blame for the outages in those areas.

The service provider of electricity for those towns, Cenored has blamed the inconsistency of power supply to those towns to Nampower’s refusing to upgrade its infrastructure. Cenored has been supplying power to residents in those towns since 2005 but has been experiencing power cuts. Nampower Corporate Communications’ Officer, Tangeni Kambangula told The Villager that, these towns are supplied by cenored.

“If however you believe that the said outages were as a result of a fault from NamPower’s side then please give us the dates on which the outages took place for us to give you a definite confirmation as to whether they can be attributed to NamPower or not”, Kambangula said.

She added that Nampower does take responsibility for the power outage that happened at Opuwo on the 1-2 February, due to three broken cross arms on the Kamerad pole structure of the Ruacana – Opuwo 66kV feeder led to a power outage in Opuwo and surrounding areas on Monday, 1 February at 10:26 am.

According to Nampower, the affected area is mountainous and not easily accessible and a helicopter had to be used to speed up the power restoration process. Cenored, Chief Executive Officer, Apollus Mburumba told The Villager that Cenored has been successful in its operations of more than 10 years and that faulty in power supply is due to Nampower’s aging infrastructure.

He then said that the problem of power quality in those towns are due to Nampower’s 33kV line from Gerus (30km east of Outjo) to the Welwitchia sub-station being an old wooden line that has almost reached the end of its useful life. “Why NamPower does not upgrade or replace the line (and its wooden poles) should be answered by NamPower, not Cenored.

Cenored has proposed to the newly elected Khorixas Mayor that the matter be taken up between the Kunene Governor and NamPower to find a lasting solution to the matter, as quality of supply & service is negatively impacted by this 33kV line”, Mburumba said. The Ministry of Mines and Energy, told The Villager that they are investigating the matter and cannot determine where the faults lies currently.

“I do not know which electricity provider is responsible as they are three. Nored, Cenored and ECB. Once the investigations are complete I will get back to you”, Deputy Minister Kornelia Shilunga told The Villager. Khorixas resident, Maria Swartz is one of the resident who have lost property due to the power outages.

Swartz said “My Tv and Dvd player are no longer functioning because when the power goes off and comes back on, our electrical appliances burn and now are no longer functioning. I blame the sudden outage of electricity that we have been experiencing for a long time. Another resident, who asked only to be identified as Rosalia also had the same complaint after losing her television from a burn out caused by power coming on and off.

“I am sure that the electricity outage caused my television to burn. I went to Cenored’s offices but they could not give me answers as to whom will refund me for my television”, she said. Fransfontein reisent, Reinhard Fredredrick also had a similar experience that caused him to lose his refrigerator.

“My refrigerator television set has been damaged by sudden electricity power outage two years ago. I have tried to convince the people to refund me but no luck. I have been to cenored’s offices two and never went back. I know that they will not pay for my loses”, Fredredrick said. Cenored to this date, has paid out dividends to the tune of N$10 million to its shareholders as a testament of its financial and technical strength it says.