ECB of Namibia’s mandate to be extended

24 October 2012 – Namibia’s Electricity Control Board (ECB) is to have its mandate extended so that it will not only control electricity but other energy sources, reports Namibian newspaper The New Era. The ECB’s name will be changed to the Energy Control Board.

Namibia’s minister of mines and energy Isak Katali says, “Broadening our electricity supply base is a key strategy for Namibia. We have to consider all options including gas, nuclear, hydro and solar, as well as importing electricity from our neighbours.”

Katali adds that while Namibia’s electricity challenges are not insurmountable, access to electricity is a major concern since only 30% of rural households can access the power grid. “In addition, even if government can supply electricity to the majority of rural Namibians, most of them cannot afford the escalating tariffs. People must be able to pay for electricity.”

Dealing with these challenges will not be easy since power demand outstrips supply in Namibia and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Currently, Namibia imports about 50% of its electricity from neighbouring SADC states such as South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.