Electricity Company Given N$18-m Grant

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By Staff Reporter WINDHOEK The Central Northern Regional Electricity Distribution company (CENORED), responsible for the distribution of electricity in major central and outlying parts of the country, was recently a happy recipient of an N$18-million grant from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The money is earmarked for the company’s rural electrification programme in the villages and settlements of the Otjozondjupa and Kunene regions. According to CENORED, they approximate that close to 900 households will be connected directly to the electricity supply, directly benefiting an estimated 5 000 people in the areas of Bergsig, Palmquelle, Otjituoo, Coblenz, Okondjatu, Okamatapati and Orunaih. Unlike numerous other rural electrification programmes where beneficiaries were institutions such as school and government assets and infrastructure, this programme is specially designed to cater for rural households. The project entails the construction of both a 33 kilo-Volt (kV) medium voltage line from Bergsig to Palmquelle, as well as a low voltage single wire earth return (SWER) line extension. SWER technology infrastructure, according to CENORED, is viewed much cheaper than conventional low voltage lines, thus prompting the company to save more and to divert those savings to other projects in their staple. National power utility Nampower will be responsible for the disbursement of funds to the contractors as per instructions of CENORED. This is done in light of the fact that the N$18 million grant accorded to the electricity distributor was derived from a concessionary loan that the EIB gave to Nampower in 1999 for the construction of a 400 kV line to South Africa. CENORED has appointed a local engineering company to do the quality control inspection and technical aspects as per CENORED criteria. Also in the fold are a number of broad-based black economic empowerment businesses to be used as suppliers and providers of small labour-based works. CENORED is one among five regional electricity distributors (REDs), established in Namibia to oversee the distribution of electricity to local authorities, cooperatives and small clients in their respective areas of jurisdiction. However, only three are currently operational, namely, Erongo RED, NORED and CENORED. The remaining two, Southern and Central REDs, are still to see the first light of operation, despite them having been given the go-ahead by the Electricity Control Board.