Eveline de Klerk
SWAKOPMUND - Swakopmund and Walvis Bay residents are up in arms against the regional electricity distributor, Erongo Red for its pricey tariffs.
According to them, the cost of electricity has become almost unaffordable despite being regarded as a daily necessity.
Residents over the weekend attended a meeting in Walvis Bay to engage Erongo Red with regard to exorbitant electricity prices and to sign a petition for cheaper electricity.
An online petition signed by 1200 residents has already been circulating on social media networks.
Some of the residents New Era spoke to say electricity prices have gone up to such an extent that it has become almost unaffordable, especially for residents that are already struggling to cope with increasing poverty in the country.
Erongo Red about a month ago announced a 4 percent tariff increase for residents.
Currently depending on the amp you are on in terms of prepaid electricity, a N$100 will fetch you about 39 units in Okahandja, 37 units in Rehoboth and about 42 units in Walvis Bay.
The dissatisfied residents also want government to take a closer look at the various electricity distributors in the country and also to regulate prices better as the end user suffers the most.
Alma Gamxamus (54) from Kuisebmond says she is considering to buy a second hand gas stove at this stage, as she simply cannot afford electricity anymore.
“The problem of living in the city is that one cannot even make a fire as there is no wood available. We purely rely on electricity unlike in the rural areas where one can resort to alternative cooking methods to survive,” she explained.
Another resident, Selma Bron, also told New Era she and her household are also feeling the pinch of electricity. “We have switched off our geyser completely and cook only once a day enough food for the whole day, just to limit our electricity usage,” she said.
Last month during the one-day electricity stakeholders’ forum held in Swakopmund, regional electricity distributors also raised their concern over electricity cost.
They said that Namibians will continue to feel the pinch of costly electricity as long as the country imports bulk of its electricity from neighbouring countries.