By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
The country’s highest decision-making body has instructed Nampower on Monday not to go further with its planned debt-collecting induced blackout.
This directive was given to Nampower on Monday, 5 June, according to the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprise in the media statement released yesterday.
However, the energy utility did not stop implementing a two-hour blackout to the NoRED customers in the northern region.
In a letter directed to the Nampower board, the country’s treasurer, Iipumbu Shiimi said he has briefed the country’s highest decision making body about the deteriorating debt situation of local authorities and the utility’s plan to cut off power as a debt recovery measure.
As a result, Cabinet resolved for Nampower not to go ahead with the plan; their reason being to allow more time for consultation.
“Cabinet issued a directive for NamPower to put on hold the planned power suspensions pending further consultations between the Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprises, Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and Local Authorities,” wrote Shiimi.
He explained that despite Nampower’s blackout implementation, this Monday, his ministry has asked the utility to furnish it with the information on the local authority debt issues, but their request was not attended to.
“The Ministry requested NamPower to appraise us with information pertaining to the debt settlement by defaulters resulting from the issuance of the Public Notices before instituting power suspensions. Nevertheless, NamPower has not responded to our request to date,” he wrote.
The minister said he communicated this directive to NamPower accordingly on 5 June 2023 but they nevertheless proceeded to suspend power supply to defaulting Local Authorities.
Shiimi explained further that they have even called for a meeting with the NamPower Board and management to obtain an explanation on why they failed to provide the ministry with the information requested, thus, defying to comply with the Cabinet Directive, as well as to ensure compliance, going forward.
Meanwhile, the infrastructure, planning and technical manager in the Ondangwa town council, Petrus Shipanga in an interview with Eagle FM said that the power disconnection by Nampower signifies a critical moment, considering several critical electronic infrastructures such as water pumps, sewerage lines in place will be dysfunctional as a result.
“We have bulks which pump water into our water tower and the water then flows into gravity into the households,” he said.
In the absence of power, and if there is no water in the elevated towers or tanks, then it basically means pump stations will start overflowing back into the houses, he said.
He added that the town council is not in a position to provide alternative power generation infrastructure to all the equipment as council is incapacitated to do, and thus really is at the mercy of Nampower and Namwater services.
The Northern Electricity Distribution’s board chairman David Amutenya requested for calm amongst the residents as they are working around the clock to find an amicable solution to energy needs amidst power cut revelations.
He further stated that recently the company engaged with relevant stakeholders to inform them of the pressing issue and equally elevated the discussion to Nampower-which is the supplier in this case.
Amutenya explained that there are many factors which they have observed from 2020.
NORED has 31 stations from which Nampower is billing, from which he indicated that as a company, they are subsidising the clients on the capacity charges.
While also in 2019 and 2020, when the Ministry of Basic Education moved from postpaid to prepaid, it also affected cash flow, he said.
Amutenya has also revealed that the company has people that are not paying for their electricity, who are also refusing to settle their debts.
“The company equally has defaulters who, after efforts to compel them to update their accounts, proved fruitless,” he stated.
He promised that they are hard at work to partially settle the debt.