13 December 2012

Mozambique: Electricity Coverage Set to Rise in 2013

Maputo — Mozambique now has the third highest electricity coverage in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region and the second highest rate of home electricity connections, declared Energy Minister Salvador Namburete on Thursday.

Speaking in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on the government’s plan and budget for 2013, Namburete said the 38 per cent of the population now have electricity in their homes – 26 per cent from the national grid based on the Cahora Bassa dam, and 12 per cent from solar panels.

In SADC, only South Africa and Mauritius have greater electricity coverage, and only South Africa makes more electricity connections a year.

To date, the national grid has reached 109 of the 128 district capitals, Namburete pledged that 17 more district capitals will be electrified in 2013, leaving just two to be put on the grid in 2014. By the end of 2013, 41 per cent of the population should have access to electricity.

Opposition deputies queried whether this growth was worth anything if the quality of the power supplied is poor. “Every day the population of my province, Maputo province, complains of the poor quality electricity and the constant power cuts that cause great damage to their electrical appliances, and nobody is compensated”, said Jose Samo Gudo, of the main opposition party Renamo.

Namburete replied that the government was concerned both with expanding access to electricity and ensuring good quality. For that reason, the government has programmes budgeted at 80 billion meticais (more than 2.7 billion US dollars) to improve the quality of electricity, including the training of staff of the public electricity company, EDM, particularly in preventive maintenance.

He stressed that over the last seven years, more than 57,000 kilometres of transmission lines had been built. EDM was also providing back-up power lines – building second lines, to ensure that if one line is knocked out for any reason, the other can continue supplying power.

Twelve new sub-stations had been built, and split meters are being introduced – these are electricity meters that cannot be hacked into for clandestine connections. EDM says that illegal connections are one of the main reasons for power cuts and poor quality energy in the cities.

Namburete stressed that the government’s electricity policy was to use multiple sources of generating power – hydro-electricity, coal and gas fired power stations, and solar and wind energy.

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