COUNTRYWIDE power outages this past weekend – the third since April – could not only be economically devastating to the country’s economy but could potentially present an opportunity blood thirsty energy vultures and their local middle-men who have been vying to overprice the cost of electricity to Nampower and the Government. The latest power outage experienced last week appears to be pushing decision makers and Nampower into a panic mode to force them into making irrational decisions to allow the vultures to justify their escalating energy costs. It is not clear what the causes of the power blackouts could be, but it is becoming ever more worrying that Namibia has been plunging into darkness without prior knowledge from the line Minister of Mines and Energy.
Under normal circumstances, such Minister should have been held to account as this is a bad signal to the country’s good reputation. Namibia is not an ordinary African country where power outages are a frequent phenomenon.
Mines and Energy Minister Obeth Kandjoze gave the assurance that the country’s electricity infrastructure is stable and reliable to ensure efficient security of supply to the nation.
We need more assurances other than what he has given. As consumers, we need to be assured that these power outages will not present a pretext, to the vultures that have been bidding with exorbitant prices, to exploit the situation to their own greedy advantage.
Instead of weighing viable options to solve our energy crisis the Nampower board is now divided over Xaris Power Energy with its Board Chairperson allegedly going behind other board members to advance her position.
It is clear that there are some high ranking Government officials who stand to benefit from the Xaris Energy deal who are still pressurising Nampower to push the Xaris project while the Kudu gas project is currently the only viable solution.
We have also learned that the Nampower board has been distracted from its core mandate to ensure sound corporate governance into a cash cow where some board members have been creating every meeting opportunity to gain from board fees. It is a fait accompli that the Nampower Board, management and Government made costly errors and mistakes in the awarding the 230-250MW power plant project to Xaris Energy.
What Government and Nampower ought to do is to cut out the middlemen and deter corrupt officials from soliciting bribes in the awarding of any power plant tenders. As custodians of the power utility parastatal, Nampower should learn from the Xaris Power Energy fiasco with diligence instead of allowing greed to push the agenda in the awarding of such critical energy tenders.
The recent power outages are clear signs that Namibia is in dire straits and the Government, Nampower board and management should seek remedial measures to the current crisis while seeking to achieve permanent affordable solutions to the energy crisis. We need to set aside our greed and provide viable solutions as Namibia is not an ordinary African country where power outages should become a frequent occurrence.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015