THE Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) says it will cease electricity imports from Mozambique in December this year and look elsewhere as part of measures to ensure electricity is more affordable to clients.
LEC said the move was necessitated by the high costs of power which compelled them to pass on the costs to the end-users through regular tariff adjustments.
LEC purchases 72 megawatts (MW) of electricity from the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority which is generated at ‘Muela Hydro-Power Station in the Leribe district.
This however, falls far short of the country’s requirements of 156 MW at the moment and the balance is met through imports from Eskom South Africa and Electricidade de Mocambique. The combined imports constitute two thirds of LEC’s expenditure- a situation the power utility says is not sustainable hence the decision not to renew its contract with Electricidade de Mocambique when it ends in December.
LEC Managing Director, Tankiso Motṧoikha, yesterday told a press conference in Maseru that they would not renew the contract and had resolved to look elsewhere.
“The costs of importing electricity are very high especially from Mozambique therefore we have already told them we will not be renewing the contract as the plan is to reduce costs,” Mr Motṧoikha said.
“We will continue sourcing from Eskom and we will join the Southern African Power Pool in January. The power pool enables Southern African countries with excess electricity to invite bids from other countries in the pool to bid for power, and this is a cheaper alternative.
“The ultimate plan is to have our own generation which can supply the whole country. LHDA is currently doing a feasibility study on which of their dams we can construct another hydro-power station and this study is also expected to end in December this year after which we will then know the costs and place to build power generators.”
Meanwhile, LEC will hold their annual district meetings from 30 October to 5 December as part of its community outreach programme.
LEC General Manager Corporate Services, Bernard Masoabi, said some of the issues that would be discussed with stakeholders include service connection, testing, safety precautions, fault reporting via call centre and cable theft.
“One of the objectives is to build lasting relations with the community by visiting them to hear their expectations regarding LEC, their views about our services and to answer them in all possible ways.
“We visited all the ten districts last year and we will be going back to report on the progress we have made to solve their issues while we also learn about new concerns they have,” Mr Masoabi said.
The community outreach will start in Mafeteng on 30 October, Mohale’s Hoek (31 October), Quthing (1 November), Qacha’s Nek (2 November), Berea (13 November), Butha Buthe (14 November) and Mokhotlong on 15 November. The Leribe meeting will be held on 21 November, followed by Thaba Tseka on 28 November and Maseru on 5 December.