The country’s power utility, NamPower, has admitted that South African electricity provider Eskom has been “proportionately” load-shedding the country.
NamPower managing director Simson Haulofu was speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday on Namibia’s load-shedding preparedness.
Haulofu said Eskom had not given the country any warning about load-shedding.
Eskom is contemplating stage nine load-shedding after struggling to maintain power.
“With Eskom, when they are implementing load-shedding in South Africa, they also proportionately load-shed Namibia,” he said.
This does not breach their contract with NamPower, Haulofu said.
“We have never had any warnings. Nothing whatsoever… These arrangements are stipulated in our bilateral agreements and nothing is untoward,” he said.
In cases where Namibia receives less power, NamPower supplements the deficit with power purchased from other utilities within the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) community.
Overall, NamPower has bilateral agreements with Eskom to supply 100 megawatts (MW), as well as two agreements in Zambia with a total of 180MW.
“We are getting more power from Zambia [than South Africa]. And another 80MW from Zimbabwe,” he said.
NamPower’s plan to cut power to defaulting electricity distributors and local authorities is not influenced by any of its suppliers in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, he said.
NamPower will be implementing its debt repayment strategy from 5 June, which will affect defaulting customers.
“We are doing this on our own and we are collecting what is due to us,” he said.
Last year, NamPower renegotiated and extended its electricity supply agreement with Eskom for another three years. This follows NamPower’s five-year agreement with Eskom for the supply of 200MW and additional non-firm supply dependent on transmission capacity.
Namibia produces about 40% of its energy requirements, while about 60% is imported from neighbouring countries through the SAPP.
The country has a power demand of 620MW, which is expected to increase during the winter months.
NamPower’s modified single-buyer executive Kandali Iyambo said the amount of power generated in the country is highly dependent on the Ruacana Hydroelectric Power Station.
“Our imports vary between 60% and 70%, depending on the production from Ruacana,” she said.
Power from Zambia is wheeled through the Zambezi Link interconnector, which connects the Zambian system to Namibia via the Zambezi region.
Power from Eskom and Zimbabwe is wheeled through the 400kV via South Africa.
This is the same line that NamPower uses to sell power to other countries within SAPP.
“There are many transactions that come via South Africa. When you look at what is flowing on the tireline (transmission line), it is not entirely coming from Eskom, it’s a combination of suppliers wheeling via that tireline,” she said.
Meanwhile, South Africa is currently being hit by the worst power cuts in over two years, as Eskom experiences multiple plant breakdowns.
Last year, Zambia also experienced load-shedding after their water levels were too low for them to continue power-generation activities.
However, in February the country halted nationwide power cuts following increased power generation at their hydropower stations, with heavy rainfall in early 2023 having replenished two of Zambia’s dams.