SORED Set to Go

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By Hoandi !Gaeb MARIENTAL The Southern Electricity Distribution Company (SORED) has been established and will start its operations on July 1, 2006 following a first board meeting of the distribution company at Mariental yesterday. In an interview shortly after the historic board meeting, chairman of the technical committee and member of the seven-member board, Salmaan Jacobs, announced that all gears are oiled for the company to start business in about a month and a half’s time. “It is a standing directive from the Ministry of Mines and Energy that SORED should be up and running as from 1 July 2006,” Jacobs said. He said the recruitment of the chief executive officer and top management will be set in motion as soon as a human resources consultancy firm has been identified to assist in the exercise. Jacobs said the new company would be financed through contributions from all local authorities in the Hardap, Karas and some parts of the Omaheke regions. He said all local authorities are expected to pay one cent per kilowatt hour. It is envisaged that 50 per cent of the new company’s expenditure would be covered through this contributions while the rest of the money will be borrowed on the open market. According to Jacobs, the new distribution company has already enlisted the services of the BDO Spencer Auditing firm to do the books of SORED. The former Governor of the Karas Region, Chief Stephanus Goliath, has been elected first chairman of the board with the Governor of the Hardap Region, Ms Katrina Hanse, as his deputy. The rest of the board members are Johannes !Gawaxab, Managing Director of Old Mutual’s Africa Operations, Salmaan Jacobs: Chief Executive Officer of the Karas Region, Franco Feris formerly from the Rehoboth Town Council and Attie Schultz and Lucia Shipena, both of NamPower. Jacobs said that the new distribution company will operate as an independent entity and all the existing personnel from the electricity departments of municipalities in the two regions will be automatically absorbed by the company. However, he said since these personnel will only represent about 65 per cent of the workforce, the rest will be recruited from elsewhere. He said the head office of SORED will be based at Mariental and temporary offices have already been acquired at the municipal offices at the Aimablaagte suburb of Mariental. 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 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 the view to improving the industry’s viability and long-term sustainability. Distribution companies have already been established in other regions, such as the Erongo, Khomas, the northern and north-central regions.