Mining & Energy
Mozambique's gas boom dream under threat from low gas prices, govt debt scandal
DW (File photo) / Most people do not have electricity at home, although Mozambique generates enough energy to consume and export. Citizens in Inhambane province in the south of the country are fed up with national distributor EDM.
In Inhambane, as in the rest of the country, less than a quarter of the population has access to the electricity grid. The situation is worse in rural areas. “They promised to bring electricity, but they still have not kept the promise,” says Panda district resident Adelino Damião.
For eight years now, Damião has been waiting for the Mozambique’s public electricity company EDM to bring him power. “We have the poles”, says Damião, but he and many others continue to live by candlelight at home.
Mozambique produces more electricity than it needs for domestic consumption (approximately 11,000 GWh, according to the latest data from the World Bank). In 2015, for example, the Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant (HCB) alone produced almost 17,000 GWh of energy, but only 4.1 percent of this was sold to EDM. Most of the electricity was exported to other countries in southern Africa, especially South Africa, according to HCB’s annual report.
Even those who have electricity at home suffer from constant cuts. “In my house, the current is very weak,” says Nene Armando, a resident of Homoíne district. “I cannot use some of my appliances because the strength is not enough. Sometimes the freezer only starts up at nine o’clock at night. Before that, it doesn’t work.”
The constant variation in the current may damage devices, according to Issufo Badru, coordinator of Rádio Progresso, in the city of Maxixe. Recently, station equipment was damaged by a sudden voltage increase (a “surge”), but the distributor refused to pay compensation.
“We don’t manufacture the damaged part in Mozambique, so we had to import it, at over US$1,500,” says Badru. “EDM said it couldn’t compensate us because the problem was not caused by the company’s workers.”
Residents ask for market opening
Agostinho Vilanculo, who lives in Maxixe says there should be more energy supply companies in the country to compete with EDM.
“Energy today is of practically zero quality,” says Vilanculo. “Under normal conditions, and if it were possible for the Mozambican state itself, other companies would be created to compete with the one that exists, because when competition arrives, service improves. There will be more challenges between companies and more innovation.”
DW Africa tried to contact the provincial Director of Mineral Resources in Inhambane and an EDM representative, but was unable to raise a response.Source: Deutsche Welle
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