Vandals drain LEC

Vandals drain LEC

Lemohang Rakotsoane

MASERU – THE Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) has lost over M2.5 million replacing stolen cables during the last two years.
The company spent M50 000 last October alone.

LEC’s Risk Manager, Matšeliso Moremoholo, said between 2014 and 2016 there has been at least four cases of vandalism on the LEC’s property.
Moremoholo said this during a forum meant to keep the public informed and to come up with solutions to the challenges the company is encountering.
“Vandalism has damaged not only LEC’s properties but also Basotho’s appliances but most of all lives have been lost and lives have been endangered,” Moremoholo said.
“In one case a client came to us indicating that thieves stole an electricity cable at his mother’s house putting her life in danger as she was on special medication that needed to be stored in the refrigerator at all times,” she said.

“Unfortunately we could not help him immediately.”
She said LEC cannot be held liable when the people’s properties get damaged due to vandalism.
She indicated that “the unfortunate thing is that we know these thieves but we do not want to report them because they are our friends or family members”.
“They operate in syndicates and that makes it hard to locate them, but we are now in a project where we are working with scrapyard owners as they are the ones who buy these cables to try and combat this vandalism,” Moremoholo said.

She also complained that drivers run over electric poles which cost LEC a lot of money to replace.
“It is during this time that people tend to lose control of their cars and fail to brake then they use the power poles to brake,” she said.
“Usually that causes some sort of damage either the uprooting of the poles or breaking them thus causing power shortages and leaving people in the dark.”
She emphasized that it is crucial that every Mosotho takes responsibility and joins the fight against vandalism of LEC’s property as everyone is directly or indirectly affected.
“The money used to repair these facilities could have been used to expand electrification throughout the country as well as to enhance the already existing facilities,” Moremoholo said.
Speaking at the same forum, the Metering Manager Monica Moeko added that it is economically unwise to spend money on a single facility several times.
She said Basotho also need to be energy savvy  so that they can be able to save electricity and enable LEC to decrease the amount of electricity imported from South Africa and Mozambique as it is expensive.

“The clean power we produce at the ’Muela Hydroelectric Power Plant is not able to sustain us for a reasonable period because of poor usage of power,” Moeko said.
“We end up having to import power that contributes to global warming because in order for the power to be produced they burn coal,” she said.
She complained that Basotho have a habit of leaving lights on during the day or when they are sleeping at night.
“Even when we leave our offices for the day we do not turn the lights off, in our homes we leave the lights on the whole day if we are to be out late so that people can think that we are still at home,” she said.

Participants raised a lot of issues concerning rural electrification schemes, energy saving tips and LEC tariff system.

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