Africa-Press – Lesotho. THE Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) is proposing a 30.9 percent power hike. On the other hand the Water and Sewerage Company (Wasco) is expected to bring forward its proposal before the end of this month.
The Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA) held a public hearing to discuss the LEC’s proposal yesterday. An economist with LEWA, Thuso Ntlama, said the LEC has requested this huge leap for the 2021/2022 Financial Year.
Ntlama said it is their job to receive such a request so that they pass it onto the nation for their comments and opinions. “The law requires us to seek the public’s opinion,” he said, adding that these opinions are open until August 19.
And for the past two years, the prices were never reviewed and no increments were effected. Thakane Makume from the LEC said the request to increase the tariffs is a regulatory requirement. Makume said the request is made as and when there is such a need.
She said it is their 10th year making the same proposals, adding that the LEC buys electricity from ’Muela Hydropower Project, ESKOM in South Africa, and Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM) in Mozambique.
“We also have Mantšonyane and Semonkong as our small power stations,” she said. Makume said the two small stations generate water for the project.
Now there is no water in the streams and the two stations operate with diesel at a very high cost. So their application includes the coverage of diesel costs which are costly.
Makume said their job is to repair the electrical equipment which they do more often following emergencies. She said sometimes weather conditions affect their equipment and they are forced to make repairs.
She complained of the high daily costs that include buying resources and paying some of their bills including salaries, medical aid, overtime costs and others.
Makume said they need funds to help renovate their old electrical equipment and also to expand their connections. “We have to pay regulation licenses every year,” she said.
She said last year they were given only M933 million while this year they have requested M1.2 billion to run the company smoothly. For the commercial and industrial users, a unit costs 19 cents and they are thinking of pushing it to 25 cents next year.
It would be a good move, Makume said. She said that small customers buy a unit for 21 cents but the cost should be 28 cents at least. She said general purpose businesses buy a unit at M1.58 cents and want it pushed to 2.07 cents.
“Families now buy a unit with M1.40 cents and it should be M1.83 cents,” Makume said.