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Govt departments turn to prepaid electricity

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MBABANE – Some government departments will now operate on prepaid electricity to cut back on expenditure.

The prepaid electricity system only allows consumption of power units that have already been paid for. When the units run out there will be a blackout, unless new units are loaded.

Government is one of major customers of the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC), but following the fiscal crisis that began two years ago, it has been struggling to settle its bills.

Government has a total of 20 ministries (including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister’s offices) and a workforce of about 37 000, and by November last year Percy Simelane, Government Press Secretary, did not refute claims that the bill may have reached the E40 million mark.

Nonetheless, yesterday, Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Them-binkosi Mamba said he was aware that SEC was rolling out its prepaid system on some of its major customers, including government.

"This will help us (government) in terms of making savings energy-wise and otherwise. It’s nothing special though," said the PS.

Mamba was not in a position to state which departments would go on prepaid since he had just returned from his leave.

Meanwhile, Sifiso Dhlamini, SEC Corporate Communications Manager, said the company had been busy exploring some energy saving options to assist customers in the industrial, agricultural and government sector.

 

"These are generally high users of electricity. This programme will be executed with the consent of customers. This is intended to assist them to minimise and avoid unwarranted use of power," said Dhlamini.

He added that the programme will, most probably, be rolled out on none critical sectors of their customers.

Asked about government’s standing as far as settling its power bills, Dhlamini said company policy did not allow them to discuss their clients’ bills.

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