Otjimbingwe Residents Want Compensation for Damages

About 50 residents of Otjimbingwe settlement in Karibib are claiming compensation for damages to their electrical gadgets due to electrical faults on the Erongo RED network.

They told The Namibian that the incidents happened ever since prepaid meters were installed a few years ago.

The damage, according to residents, usually happened during bad weather and when the network fails.

They said they have complained to the RED since last year, but nothing has happened even after the list of 48 claimants was submitted to the power distributor.

Benjamin Nangombe, Erongo RED spokesperson, said the company was aware the matter and had responded appropriately in December to the client who brought the matter.

He said there were a “few individual customers” who raised the matter and a detailed response was provided.

He explained that the ‘burnouts’ were caused by “spikes” or electrical surges that result from rain, heavy storms or lightning.

In the case of Otjimbingwe, Nangombe said, the surge was caused by lightning.

“Lightning is a sudden discharge of high voltage and high current from charged clouds. These surges, on their way towards the earth, can strike power lines and antennae (in their path) and pass through the wires to the terminal equipment such televisions, D players, HiFi’s and fridges,” said Nangombe.

“It cannot be the fault of Erongo RED because the spike or surge was not directly caused by the failure of our network infrastructure but was due to external factors,” he said.

He said that Erongo RED has started a campaign in the media to educate its customers about electricity.

“Customers should install devices such as power filters, surge arrestors or a UPS to protect their appliances from any unusual current flowing to their appliances. If the area is prone to sustained lighting occurrences, then it will be aisable for the people to disconnect and unplug all appliances until the lighting occurrences stop. Even if the transformers and network in that specific area is upgraded, damage can still happen if the lightning strikes homes or the RED’s electrical infrastructure,” he added.

Erongo RED will also send technicians to Otjimbingwe to test earthing and bonding installations in the affected houses.

“Although the customers are responsible for protecting their equipment, we also look into ways on how we can assist them,” said Nangombe.

Source : The Namibian