LEC warns of power cuts

LEC warns of power cuts

MASERU – THE Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) has warned of more power cuts as it battles to cope with a stringent budget.
The LEC Transmission and Distribution Manager, Monica Moeko, told a shareholders forum in Maseru last Friday that the company needs more money to solve the problem.

Moeko said the LEC had asked for M45 million from the regulator, the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA), for maintenance but only received M16 million.
She said in 2016 the LEC had used M44 million for their projects hence and were therefore expecting more money this year.
As a result of failure to get the requested amount last year, this year LEC is asking for M63 million as they have a backlog of programmes they should have done the previous year.

“This means that we had to shelve some of the programmes that we had lined up to the back and now if we get the funding that we are requesting this year we have to finish off programmes from last year, coupled with current programmes for this year,” Moeko.
She said among their plans was a project to replace circuit breakers with ones that will be able to withstand storms and strong winds.
“We have piloted some areas like Ha-Abia and indeed those who are using these breakers do not experience frequent power cuts, especially during heavy rains, winds or storms,” Moeko said.

She said they were able to secure M153 million funding from the African Development Bank (AFDB) for the refurbishment of the Thaba-Tseka line, Quthing line and switching stations in Maseru.
She said the LEC will pay the remaining M35 million so that the overall project will cost M188 million.
“When the lines were made we realised that the material used there was not of top quality as a result the line needs to be replaced,” Sello Ntelane, the Regional Manager for the northern parts, said.

Moeko pleaded with Basotho that when the company asks to hike electricity tariffs the nation should realise that getting a small percentage will mean that it will take longer to tighten and beef up the networks so that they are able to withstand storms and reduce power cuts.

“We do not get money in any way but through electricity sales so if you as consumers of electricity do not accept our request to hike tariffs and the authority does not give us the money we have asked for, it means we will not be able to get where we want to be as a country whereby we will have strong and reliable power networks,” Moeko said.

This year the LEC is asking for a 23 percent hike in electricity tariffs.
LEC said it is also facing a serious staff shortage.

Meanwhile, the business community voiced their dissatisfaction with the poor power supply and frequent power cuts that are not announced.
Bokang Segoete, who runs a butchery in Morija, said the frequent power cuts result in damage of stock.
“We have meat and other products that need to be kept frozen. These frequent power cuts cause a serious loss on our side as these products get spoilt,” Segoete said.

Ntoane Ntobo of Lesotho Flour Mills said their equipment also gets damaged during these power cuts.
“Unfortunately when we call the call centre to report these power cuts looking for immediate assistance our calls do not get picked,” Ntobo said.
Stakeholders suggested that the LEC should have a rapid response team for commercials and emergencies.

They said the company should invest in a better call centre system and have a relations manager specifically for commercials.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

Previous Outperforming your competition
Next LDF boss pledges to professionalise army

About author

You might also like

News

‘Motsomotso’s killing not a ‘planned act’’

MASERU – AN army captain who has been in military detention for a month in connection with the murder of Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo says the commander’s death was not

Audit boss takes on DCEO

MASERU – THE Constitutional Court will today hear a case in which a suspended Director of Internal Audit in the Ministry of Finance is challenging the seizure of her vehicle by

Business

50 percent subsidy for farmers

MASERU – THE government says it will provide a 50 percent subsidy to farmers in an effort to boost crop production this year. Agriculture Minister Mahala Molapo said the measure is