Power Supply Firm for the South

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By Hoandi !Gaeb Mariental The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Southern Electricity Distribution Company (SORED) is to take place on Monday to work out modalities for the actual establishment of the electricity distributor in southern Namibia. SORED will provide jobs to hundreds of inhabitants of southern Namibia when in full operation. Chairman of the technical committee of the electricity distribution company, Salmaan Jacobs, told New Era that a list of names of board members has already been compiled and the members will elect a chairperson and deputy chairperson at the meeting. Five of the board members were recommended by local authorities and village councils, while two members have been nominated by NamPower. The first board of SORED consists of Stefanus Goliath, former Governor of the Karas region; Salmaan Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of the Karas Regional Council; Franco Feris, former member of the Rehoboth Town Council; Johannes !Gawaxab, Managing Director of Old Mutual’s Africa Operations; Katrina Hanse, Governor of the Hardap Region and Attie Schultz and Lucia Shipena, both of NamPower. The board has the daunting task of working out criteria to implement the recommendations in the strategic Business Plan compiled by a well-known consultancy group, EMCON. Jacobs said a corporate governance framework has already been adopted by all stakeholders, such as local authorities, municipalities, village and regional councils in the region and the seven-member board will now lay the groundwork for the establishment of the electricity supply company for southern Namibia. Jacobs said the company will operate independently and most of the personnel from the electricity departments of municipalities in the two regions will be automatically transferred to the new company. However, he said since the personnel will only represent about 65 percent of the workforce, the rest will be recruited from elsewhere. He said the head office of SORED will be at Mariental and temporary offices have already been acquired. Mariental was chosen because some parts of the Omaheke region are also included in SORED’s area of operation and the town was found to be centrally situated. The decision to establish regional electricity distribution companies in Namibia is the result of a White Paper on the Energy Policy published by Government, which has laid down a policy framework for development in the energy sector. Emanating from this policy, the Electricity Act was promulgated in 2000, the Electricity Board was created and operationalised and the Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) restructuring process was officially launched. One of the ESI restructuring processes is the establishment of the regional electricity distributors (REDs) in Namibia, aimed at rationalising the distribution and supply of electricity with a view to improve the industry’s viability and long-term sustainability. According to Jacobs, the technical committee under his chairmanship will cease to exist once SORED is fully operational and all core functions of electricity distribution and retail have been transferred from the previous supply entities and are executed by the new company.