NamPower owed millions

Windhoek– The national power utility, Namibia Power Corporation (NamPower) says it is owed over N$620 million by its customers, a situation the company said is heavily impacting its balance sheet.

The Southern Times has established that local consumers are the biggest debtors with a staggering N$507 million for the 2013/2014 financial year, a 15 percent increase from the previous financial year.

Regional electricity distributors owes the power company over N$322,7; mining firms N$117 million; end-user customers N$77, 7 million while other trade receivables accounted for N$105, 5 million.

The statistics also show that the regional exports or cross border customers’ debts to NamPower grew by more than 100 percent from just N$9, 7 million in 2013 to a massive N$115 million in 2014.

NamPower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba said the debts are heavily impacting on the balance sheet of the company and is hopeful that the customers will play their part in assisting the company on keeping the lights on in the country.

“It’s definitely affecting the bottom line of our operations and heavily impacting on our revenues as we have to pay our staffs’ salaries, pay for the new power structures amongst other many things.

“But we have a credit policy whereby if customers owe NamPower a certain amount then we just disconnect our supply and we have done that many times already. I am not aware why certain customers don’t pay on time or does not pay at all as everyone have their own problems and reasons. 

“But really all in all, it is a general fact that when customers do not pay their accounts it affects our cash flow and subsequently impact on planned projects. So in general, it does affect business,” he said.

NamPower has two tariff regimes in a year – the high and low tariffs.

During the low tariff season, the company said customers pay their accounts without any problems, while during high tariff season they arrange with them to spread their bills over a period of time to enable them to keep up with the payments.

“It is however important to make a distinction between municipalities and village councils. Many a time it is village councils that struggle to pay their accounts. 

They are however committed to settling their accounts and normally make the necessary arrangements (with their line ministry) to bring their accounts up to date,” the company said in an emailed response.

Tsumeb Municipality Chief Executive Officer, Archie Benjamin said one of the reasons why municipalities are failing to settle their debts with NamPower is due to the lack of internal capacity to enforce credit control policy.

“Customers are also not paying and this is resulting in difficulties of generating revenue which will lead to the difficulties in paying what we owe to our creditors not just to NamPower but for example to NamWater as well,” Benjamin said.

July 2015
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