Nampower Asks Industries to Save Power

Nampower has told mines, local authorities and electricity distributors such as the Windhoek municipality and ErongoRed to voluntarily save energy by cutting down on non-essential loads.

This means those institutions would have to unplug appliances such as geysers and street lights while mines should cut off non-core operations.

The appeal comes after the power utility announced imminent power cuts last Thursday. Sources said the City of Windhoek has so far reduced its load by 10MW.

South Africa’s power utility Eskom’s electricity supply to Namibia is not fixed as it depends on whether Namibia is getting power from other neighbouring countries.

Eskom was exporting 70MW electricity to Namibia last week.

Another source of electricity for NamPower is Anixas, which reportedly provides around 22MW. Ruacana provides 330MW maximum depending on the river flow, while Zambia gives Namibia a fixed 40MW.

Even though Eskom did not cut off completely, Namibia is still facing prospects of countrywide load-shedding if South Africa pulls the plug.

“NamPower was still taking about 70MW from Eskom the day the line broke down. If Eskom decides not to (provide anymore electricity), then there will be a serious crisis, and to avoid a total blackout, load-shedding will be the only option to maintain system security,” said a source.

Namibia’s power utility is not getting the 80MW it is supposed to receive from Zimbabwe because the line that connects Zimbabwe to Namibia through South Africa is down at the moment. The Namibian has learned that the line will be fixed this week.

Late yesterday NamPower issued a statement calling on Namibians to cut on the use of electricity.

“The power supply situation remains constrained due to a technical fault on one of the region’s transmission lines. This has impacted on the 80MW power supply that NamPower receives from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa).

Also, the systems of our regional suppliers and transmission partners are under strain and as a result supply to Namibia is limited. The situation has resulted in power supply deficits mainly during evening peak hours,” it said.

NamPower is currently getting help from Mozambique and South Africa but Eskom is said not to be reliable at the moment because South Africa is also experiencing demand issues.

“I’m sure the broken line will be repaired soon and the plans that are in place will take the country through this breakdown,” an official from the power utility said.

NamPower has not communicated possible load-shedding schedules in case the situation gets worse but The Namibian understands the implications would be totally switching off certain towns on a rotational basis.

“Like today they can decide to switch off Ongwediva, Otjiwarongo and Rundu. Tomorrow it could be Gobabis, Keetmanshoop and Okahandja and so forth,” said an expert, who added that at the moment that will not happen because those towns have standing contracts with NamPower.

The Namibian reported last Friday that NamPower bosses are accused of creating an artificial power crisis in a bid to create panic and force government into agreeing to the setting up of the controversial 250MW power project, which President Hage Geingob suspended last week.

A source, however, insisted that there is a power crisis.

Source : The Namibian