‘Lights on’ for Saamstan township

Rural electrification plan
Leandrea Louw
Usakos •[email protected]

Sixty houses were equipped with electricity supply infrastructure in the Saamstan informal settlement of Usakos.

Speaking at the occasion, Erongo RED chief executive Fessor Mbango, said that the regional electricity distributor implemented a rural electrification master plan in 2013.

“The objective is to provide a framework for Erongo RED to coordinate all rural and peri-urban electrification and network extension projects.”

To date, Erongo RED completed projects at Uis, Okombahe, Otjohorongo, Tubusis, Omatjete, Otjimbingwe. as well peri-urban areas of Karibib, Omaruru, Henties Bay, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund and Usakos.

“The commissioning of 60 houses in Saamstan is a testimony of our commitment to the community of Usakos and the region at large that we are standing behind them,” Mbango emphasised.

Aside from the electrification of the 60 houses in Saamstan, another 50 houses in Hakahana in Omaruru were also connected to grid.

“We have now connected 110 households to the tune of nearly N$800 000. The project commenced early this year and it was completed in a record time of four months.”

As part of the project, the existing Overhead Low Voltage infrastructure was extended and Low Voltages underground service cables were connected to each dwelling.

Ready-boards for each dwelling were provided and installed with a portable pre-paid meter.
Nine streetlights were also installed.

Mbango stated that with the in-house expertise available at Erong RED, the company was able to reduce costs by doing most of the work such as project design, feasibility studies, project costing, planning and the management of this project, themselves.

“By doing this we're able to use the funds to electrify more houses. For this project, Petesi Electrical and Construction Services CC was appointed for the electrification of the houses and installation of the streetlights. It is also worth mentioning that during the construction period, 22 local residents were employed for unskilled labour jobs, thus supporting local communities to put bread on the table.”

Erongo RED engineers are now busy planning and designing the supply of electricity to other localities in the region.

Upukos (60 houses), Corner Shop (35 houses) and the Topnaar community (119 houses) will be considered for electrification once funds have been secured.

Erongo governor Neville Andre said that rural electrification is part of the government's economic development policy to expand electricity supply infrastructure to rural areas.

“Electrification of this area is a milestone because the community has been changed forever. Now they will be able to use electricity for their basic needs. This will also allow them to participate in mainstream economic activities by starting small business activities for themselves.”

Andre appealed to municipalities and town councils to plan their infrastructure development in conjunction with all stakeholders, saying such a move will allow for an accelerated and shared effort of bringing services to the people as opposed to bringing one service only.

“The practice has been too frequent in the past that municipalities used consultants at a higher cost while Erongo RED can do the same work at a reasonable price.”

He urged community members to take care of the provided infrastructure which has been created for their benefit.

“Refrain from vandalism and cable theft, as it will hinder Erongo RED from providing efficient services.”