12 November 2012

Namibia: Walvis Bay Returns to Erongo Red

Walvis Bay — The major shareholder in Erongo Red, the Municipality of Walvis Bay will return two board members to the electricity distributor for the Erongo Region.

The move is intended to enable the municipality to play a more active role in Erongo Red's affairs after it pulled out of the company two years ago.

The mayor of Walvis Bay Derek Klazen made this rather surprising announcement last week Tuesday at a community meeting held at the Kuisebmond Community Hall in Walvis Bay.

Residents whose hopes for cheaper electricity were dashed by the latest announcement received news of the return of Walvis Bay to Erongo Red with mixed feelings.

In October 2010 then Walvis Bay mayor Uilika Nambahu announced the council's withdrawal as a shareholder, consequently also pulling out council's representatives on the Erongo Red board of directors with immediate effect.

The only explanation given was the major concern of residents and businesses about electricity tariff increases of up to 100 per cent in 2010.

The "100 per cent increase" was denied by Erongo Red.

According to mayor Klazen council has opted to return to Erongo Red as other shareholders such as Henties Bay and Swakopmund have pressured Walvis Bay "to return" and play a more active role in Erongo Red's affairs for the interest of the region.

"We made the decision to return to Erongo Red recently. However, we are continuously seeking ways in which we can free ourselves from Erongo Red. Residents must bear in mind that it is a lengthy and costly process," he said.

He added that the municipality also had a closer look at the total costs involved if it had to totally free itself from Erongo Red.

"This will be a costly legal battle and we must really consider the costs involved. Walvis Bay is the majority shareholder in Erongo Red, with 49 per cent of the shares. Swakopmund is the second largest with 28 per cent of the shares.

"The other shareholders are NamPower, Henties Bay, Omaruru, Arandis, Karibib, Usakos, Uis and the Erongo Regional Council - thus we must set an example and rather work with them and Erongo Red to find an amicable solution," Klazen explained.

Erongo Red was established in 2005 in the context of government's National Development Plan and envisages a "dynamic and efficient commercialised electricity distributor for the region".

Erongo Red buys electricity from NamPower and is responsible for the supply of electricity to consumers and to ensure efficiency of service as well as infrastructure maintenance and upgrade.

Walvis Bay represents about 22 000 of the 48 000 electricity consumers in the region.

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