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LEC threatens defaulters



MASERU – THE Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) has threatened to disconnect electricity without warning to debtors irrespective of whether they are government departments or not. The state-owned company told a press conference yesterday that it may show some mercy to hospitals before disconnecting power, depending on the merits of each case. The LEC Managing Director, Mohato Seleke, said the company is over M265 million yet spends close to M630 million on electricity imports. A sum of M90 million is owed from installations for domestic use (sundry debtors) and M175 million from connection fees known as post-paid customers to mostly large private companies. Out of the M175 million, M95.6 million has been paid to the LEC leaving a huge balance where the government owes up to M21 million. “Importing electricity from Mozambique, South Africa (Eskom) and ’Muela is very costly, but is sold at a very low cost to Basotho who do not want to pay,” Seleke said. “Lesotho spends over 72 megawatts yet it is still very little to sustain the entire kingdom,” he said. “When the LEC sinks, the entire economy is going to fail.” He said the nation will not be able to operate without power. He said the Central Bank of Lesotho relies on this hard currency to execute its duties. Seleke said the LEC is not a social welfare organisation that receives subsidies from the government. He said that it is a company run as per the constitution, reasonably profiting from revenue collected. The LEC customers are advised to change the mentality of wanting things for free and assuming everything is provided by the government. Hospitals plus old age homes will not be exempted from the enforcement but will be handled in a different manner, he said. He called on companies to settle their debts to avoid hiccups in their businesses. The LEC also warned those who are vandalising its property. It said copper cable thieves will be fined M15 000 or face imprisonment for up to six years if caught. While the LEC is working on pre-paid operations, the policy under which it operates will not change and enforcement will still be implemented, Selete said. Margaret Katimbo

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