OMUTHIYA - The Northern Electricity Distributor (Nored) hosted a workshop for regional and local authority councillors to explain its mandate. The gathering took place at the Oshikoto Regional Council on 15 September 2021 and was attended by councillors and Nored executive managers.
In his opening remarks, the Nored board chairperson David Hamutenya indicated the company was established to supply and distribute electricity in the eight northern regions. He also reminded the participants that electricity is key for access to information as information is important for growth. “In the past, electricity was not a necessity but today whatever development we want to undertake, we need to have electricity, hence the demand for it. We, therefore, would like to forge a clear understanding of Nored operations, see good cooperation between Nored and the elected leaders and most importantly, uniting for a common goal,” said Hamutenya.
The induction workshop derived from the Oshikoto Regional Council’s strategic plan, which indicated burning issues such as poor stakeholder relations, inadequate infrast ructure development, high unemployment and extreme poverty. It was against this background that the executive manager for stakeholder engagement and electrification Toivo Shovaleka said before the REDs (Nored, Erongo RED and Cenored) came into being, there were concerns that needed attention and interventions.
Companies that were distributing electricity were small in terms of finance and there was a huge difference in tariffs and tariff approaches, as every company charged their own tariffs. He said, one of the objectives of the electricity distribution industry (EDI) was to reduce the complexity from 50 licensees to a maximum of five. The EDI aims to minimise or harmonise the tariffs thus combining urban areas with rural areas.
“In spite of high tariffs, Nored wants to be sustainable,” said Shovaleka. Nored’s manager of operations and maintenance Shinana Shinana assured councillors that Nored keeps up with technology and has modernised their equipment. “Technology is changing and we need to move with it by modernising our equipment, so far, our network reliability, we install auto recloses for continuity of supply that only isolate the faulty section for instance if a village’s power is off,” said Shinana Shinana.
Communities erecting structures underneath Nored power lines, which poses a danger, is one of the challenges the company struggles with. They have also experienced people denying access to each other when it comes to electricity. Theft and vandalism were also among the threat faced by Nored. “Electricity is no longer a want but a need. We need to work together to ensure no customer deny electricity to others but provide the right of way,” said Shinana.
“As a new regional councillor, I have learnt the relevant structure of communication between the consumers and the service providers. I have also learnt that the reason why electricity is costly is because it is channelled by many companies before it reaches the end user. I believe that we are all accountable and responsible. When it comes to infrastructure, we should take ownership,” said Vilho Nuunyango, constituency councillor for Oniipa.
Nored was established in 2001 and consolidated eight political regions and 18 local authorities and is granted licence to operate from the year 2002 to 2028. It is the first regional electricity distributor in Namibia and southern Africa. Nored is owned by NamPower, which owns 33% shares, Regional Councils Electricity Company (RCEC) (33%), Local Authorities Electricity Company (LAEC) (33%) and Nored Employees Trust Fund with 1% within its area of operation.