Rambler – Switch Off! [column]

Namibia came close to shutting down as its jittery power supply situation was dumped into further turmoil when, apparently due to failure in a transmission line from Zimbabwe, NamPower’s Paulinus Shilamba last week announced that we were on the verge of a blackout.

The Namibian reported then that it may just be a ruse as NamPower has been 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 project, which President Hage Geingob suspended recently.

Namibia relies on power imports of up to 80% during dry seasons. Shilamba said NamPower with some consultants identified a shortfall of 400 MW prior to perennial pie in the sky project Kudu coming on stream and has developed a power supply strategy to ensure security of supply.

The strategy apparently includes refurbishing local generation plants.

Whether you want to believe the journalist just wanted to stir some k*k or whether NamPower has really something to answer to, you should take into consideration that sometimes Shilamba talks as if he’s a politician and sometimes he speaks as if he’s a businessman. Mostly he just talks k*k, though.

Just check this out: For this year and next year, Shilamba said NamPower has secured adequate power supply solutions and no serious power supply disruptions are expected.

On the other hand, he says: Most existing import contracts with neighbouring countries are on the verge of termination as demand in those countries surge.

Also, the import agreement with ZESA of Zimbabwe has been reduced from 150 MW to 80 MW, the supplemental agreement with Eskom of 200 MW was extended in April but it was awaiting approval from the South African government.

And the 115 MW agreement with Aggreko of Mozambique will expire in August this year. He said the 300 MW off peak agreements with Eskom will expire in April next year.

Confused?

So here’s The Rambler’s guide to rid yourself of this slavery to NamPower and the chain of middlemen, including Regional Electricity Distributors (reds), leeching on us:

Go solar: It’s not just houses that should unplug from the grid and install a solar system but big and small businesses, municipalities and even NamPower should invest in solar power. We have the sun. Let’s use it. It’s pollution free, relatively cheap, reliable and you are not dependent on useless NamPower. Let’s use the sun while it’s still free. The manufacturing and installation of solar systems could also be a possible growth area for our business sector. Solar power does not rely on massive amounts of water, coal or diesel. This is a government that taxes recharge vouchers, largely used by the poor. They could easily charge for using the sun. Wag en kyk.

Switch off: You don’t need the geyser to be on if you are not around. We know your fridge is of no use to anyone and serves largely as an electricity chowing ornament during that last week before payday. In some households, NBC TV is constantly on with the sound off (because k*k voices) while Omulunga radio pumps the latest Tate Buti song on max volume somewhere else in the house. There’s not much on NBC or DStv anyway and they’ll repeat that sh*t again tomorrow. Have a zol. I’m sure scientific tests will show that the poorer the TV show is the more power it uses. Switch off the TV and go sit outside. Talk to your neighbour. Read a damn book!

Throw away the electric stove: Furniture store clerks will tell you that gas stoves are the only item that could rival the sales of luxury vehicles in Namibia today. We are finally getting it.

Get off the phone: Smart phones’ batteries have the lifespan of a RDP youth leader’s political career so they need to be plugged in constantly. But if we get off them and actually look at the person we are talking to, we’ll save power. And we all nowadays have smart phones, even those ones who can’t pay support. Some of you will tweet, “out with comrade bae on a romantic evening at a swanky place. Just ordered a N$500 bottle of bubbly”, but would tweet 200 times during the ‘date’. Stop posing.

We all know you are alone at home sucking on a long neck Black Label while watching Anne Kansime on your laptop.

Natural heating is best: Throw away the heaters, hide the air conditioner’s remote control. Say yes to the dude who doesn’t have a girlfriendwife, doesn’t see you as a side chick and actually wants to be with you. This winter will be cold. Get a vleis kombers.

And switch those damn lights off!

Source : The Namibian