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City to crack down on electricity theft

2021-09-17  Staff Reporter

City to crack down on electricity theft
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Emilie Shimbali


The City of Windhoek has announced an alarming rise of illegal electricity connections, particularly in informal settlements, and urged residents to immediately refrain from such practices.

In a statement on Wednesday, the City of Windhoek warned that bypassing electricity, tampering with an electricity meter or connecting the illegal supply of electricity is a serious offence punishable by a fine of N$16 000 or imprisonment for not more than two years.

Residents who suspect that someone had tampered with an electricity meter can call the Customer Contact Centre on 061 290 3777, or report any illegal connections to the City Police on 061 302 302 or SMS 4444.

Residents should apply for a legal connection if their current meter is faulty, and are thus strongly discouraged to cut the seal on their electricity box.

In the same statement, the City assured the Namibian Competition Commission (NaCC) that it does not intend to engage in uncompetitive practices in the development of fibre optics infrastructure in accordance with its business ethics and values.

However, they would not tolerate the bad behaviour of certain players in the industry, who are destroying the city’s infrastructure and causing damage to it while harassing residents in the process.

The statement comes after the NaCC warned the City not to engage in restrictive behaviour with telecommunication companies who intend to roll out fibre in the city.

According to the NaCC, it has been inundated with numerous complaints alleging possible anti-competitive behaviour in the information and communication technology industry, specifically in the development of fibre optic infrastructure around Windhoek, since 2017.

These complaints, some of which were lodged by major players in the industry, were all assessed to determine whether there have been possible infringements of the competition law.

It said although the commission commends the entrance into the market by the Windhoek municipality, which has the potential to enhance consumer choice, the commission is nevertheless cognisant of the fact that the municipality is the sole custodian of the upstream essential facility (the infrastructure upon which fibre cables are to be installed), and is aspirant to being vertically integrated into the downstream market (installation of fibre optic cables).

“The commission, therefore, wishes to caution the Windhoek Municipality that given the position it enjoys over its downstream competitors, the Windhoek Municipality should offer access to the essential facility on equal terms and conditions, and in a non-biased manner. Any unwarranted delays, restrictions, constraints or reluctance in approving applications for the purposes of installing fibre cables in the district of Windhoek without reasonable justification may be construed as a way of restricting competition in the relevant market.”

2021-09-17  Staff Reporter

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