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‘Adjust policies and ensure affordable electricity’

by Sunday Express
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Ntsebeng Motsoeli

THE Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) must adjust policies to ensure that electricity tariffs remain manageable for consumers.

This was said by the Lesotho Electricity Company’s Managing Director, Leketekete Ketso at the opening ceremony of a forum for the legal committee of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) in Maseru. The forum, which started on the 6th of this month and ended on Friday, was aimed at reviewing agreements and policies in the production and trading of electricity among member countries.

SAPP is an organisation that facilitates interconnected electrical system in the southern African region from which member countries can purchase electricity at affordable prices.

Dr Ketso said SAPP plays a vital role in growing member countries’ economies. He said tariffs could be lowered significantly if policies were adjusted such that Lesotho could buy most of its electricity from within the SAPP instead of other suppliers who are comparatively more expensive.

He added that there was already a significant flow of electricity to be traded among the members.

“There is already a 40 percent total share of trading electricity in the pool and that is a lot of electricity which Lesotho can benefit from because it is much cheaper than that from other suppliers,” Dr Ketso said.

“This, therefore calls for policy adjustments that would allow us to increase electricity trading with the SAPP as opposed to the current suppliers.

“SAPP is an integral part of the economic growth that we are witnessing in the SADC region.  This is the body that regulates electricity, a commodity that catalyses many economies in our region.”

Dr Ketso said the legal committee of the SAPP was established to help the organisation to achieve its noble mission of keeping “lights on” in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) by making sound policies and regulations.

“Your role as legal professionals is a commendable one as you review the agreements that are put in place to regulate relationships among members of SAPP. It is also my hope and belief that the lessons you leaned during your study tour in Europe last December will be evident in your deliberations,” Dr Ketso said.

Dr Ketso however, said the ultimate goal is for Lesotho to increase its own electricity generation to reduce dependence on other suppliers.

He said the country was looking to increase electricity generation from the Polihali hydropower-generation component and the Ramarothole solar field with the Polihali hydropower alone projected to produce about 100 megawatts.

He added Lesotho was currently generating only 72 megawatts of electricity from the ‘Muela Hydropower Station which he said was far less than the consumption demands.

“The Polihali and Ramarothole projects should really add to what Lesotho requires in terms of consumption. With all those (Polihali, ‘Muela and Ramarothole) put together, the likelihood of lowering our purchases from other countries or heavy dependence is going to be reduced. The ultimate goal is to reduce dependence on foreign purchases,” Dr Ketso said.

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