WALVIS BAY – Electricity is a necessity and not a luxury anymore. It plays an important role in the development of every household, village and farm in Namibia, mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo said.
Alweendo made the observation on Thursday when he officiated at the electrification of 107 households in the most remote parts of the Erongo region by the Erongo Regional Electricity Distributor (RED) company.
Erongo RED spent N$3.1 million as part of their rural electrification project to bring electricity closer to the residents of the Tatamutsi and Goagomes informal settlements.
The project started in 2020, and was completed in March this year, with 85 houses electrified in Tatamutsi and 22 in Goagomes.
“Unfortunately, too many villages, homes and farms in our country are still without this modern, grid connected type of electricity. Our estimates are that about 80% of our rural households still do not have access to electricity. The figures in urban localities are much better; around 70% of households in urban areas are connected to the grid,”Alweendo said.
This means a great number of people do not have the means to have lights on for their children to study at night or to cook using modern stoves, or even to preserve their food and drinks in a refrigerator, he added.
“They are further excluded because business opportunities become slimmer as they cannot, for example, run a barbershop or salon that requires electricity to make money and support their families,” the minister said.
Erongo RED chief executive officer (CEO) Fessor Mbango explained that the aim of their rural electrification programme is to electrify existing dwellings for residents who do not have access to electricity where bulk electrical services exist.
“Today, more villages and settlement areas in Erongo have been equipped with electricity. Thus, the commissioning of Tatamutsi is a clear testimony of our commitment to continue with our efforts to bring electricity to the people,”Mbango said.
The company has also identified localities in the peri-urban areas of Omaruru and Usakos to be electrified next.
“We are looking at electrifying 50 houses in the Hakahana informal settlement of Omaruru, and 60 houses in the Saamstaan informal settlement of Usakos. Our engineers are busy with the planning and designing process, and ErongoRED will subsequently electrify these areas,” he promised.
Mbango added that they also plan to electrify 95 houses in the Karibib rural constituency, and 119 houses for the Topnaars in the Walvis Bay rural constituency during the 2021/2022 financial year.