Govt implement change in bid to bring power to the people
In recent years, government has implemented various policies in a bid to provide electricity throughout the country.
While strides have been made, there is still much to be done, with an estimated 259, 643 rural households (that’s 35 percent of the country’s rural population) still without power.
In light of these staggering numbers, government has halved National Electricity Standard Connection (NESC) fees for the underprivileged.
From 1 February, all low income households – those whose monthly earnings are less than P2, 400 – will have to fork out P2, 500 for connection to the grid. In addition, such households will be supplied with a ready box where the premises are not wired.
Unfortunately for middle and high income earners, the fee remains at P5, 000. The bad news doesn’t end there, with the National Electricity Fund (NEF) levy rate doubling from P0.05 to P0.10 per KWh.
Briefing the media on Tuesday, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Lefoko Moagi admitted the number of rural families living in the dark was worrying.
“This is a great concern, not only for the government but the public too since substantial investment has been made over the years to extend the grid infrastructure.
“We conducted an assessment to establish the root cause of the low uptake and concluded that the major impediments are the high expenses of wiring houses and inability of low income households to afford the subsidized connection fee,” he said, adding this was what prompted the latest changes.
Minister Moagi explained the initial National Electricity Standard Connection (NESC) fee of P5, 000 and P0.05 NEF levy, both introduced in 2010, were meant to reduce the cost of connection.
Previously, depending on various factors, households could be charged as much as P110, 000 for connection, while P11, 000 was generally seen as the minimum amount one could expect to fork out for access to the power grid.
Although this amount is now considerably lower, it seems the price is still too high for many. It remains to be seen if the latest changes make a difference.