Group calls for reduced electricity tariffs

Power to the people

11 August 2019 | Energy

Paulus Nicodemus; Activist; “…most community members on the 20 and 30 AMP brackets cannot even afford to pay for electricity,”

Walvis Bay - Otis Finck

Residents staged a peaceful protest against high electricity tariffs in Walvis Bay.

The Walvis Bay Concerned Group (WBCG) organised the protest action.

A group of 15 placard carrying residents marched from Kuisebmond to the offices of Erongo RED and the municipality in town where letters containing demands were handed over.

The group demands that the ministers of mines and energy, as well as fisheries and marine resources instruct fishing factories and mines operating in the area to meet the community halfway in covering electricity bills.

“We have a number of big companies and they are not helping at all while most community members on the 20 and 30 AMP bracket cannot even afford to pay for electricity,” explained Paulus Nicodemus, a community activist.

He said the group had since 2013 drafted letters to various government ministries, calling for improved discussions about the supply of electricity, to no avail.

“We emerged disappointed from a meeting with Erongo RED. They told us that it was not possible to reduce their tariff as they have already lost many customers due to an increase in the use of solar panels.”

He suggested that residents who for example make use of prepaid cards get more electricity units for their money’s worth.

“We are of the opinion that Erongo RED should for example receive N$20 when a user purchases electricity for N$100. The buyer should receive N$80 worth of electricity.”

Nicodemus also accused Erongo RED of milking residents by charging an excessive amount of money for the installation of prepaid electricity supply boxes.

The public relations and marketing officer at Erongo RED, Benjamin Nangombe, said the company will look into the issues presented and provide feedback as soon as possible.

He said the tariffs were not increased this year, and that there is a 20 AMP default option available on which a normal household can survive.

“Another issue is that most of those complaining have backyard shacks on their premises and are actually running businesses. We are already selling electricity below the average supply price. Erongo RED buys electricity at a cost of N$1.54 from Nampower and actually subsidises customers. It is impossible to reduce the cost of electricity further.”