Power utility company Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) will turn to local suppliers for its electrical equipment supplies, public relations manager, Makhetha Motšoari, has said.
The move is expected to enable the power utility to tackle supply-side challenges, Motšoari said.
The state-owned power utility company has for years relied on South African-based suppliers for its equipment needs, with only a small portion left for locals.
The company spends an average of R500 million annually on supplies. Motšoari said the company’s change of policy seeks to address challenges that include delivery delays and sudden price increases by suppliers among others.
Such challenges disrupt the company’s operations and the rate at which they make new connections or address power distribution challenges, he said. Prices of electrical supplies shot up this year and this increased the company’s operational costs as there were no tariff hikes to cushion them, he added.
The LEC has been procuring poles, transformers, insulators, cables, circuit breakers, conductors, earthing material, distribution kits among others from external suppliers.
“To address these supply side challenges, the LEC is changing its policy to wholly source supplies locally, starting from the current financial year,” Motšoari said.
“This will help us to address some of the challenges we currently face while also empowering local contractors.
“We are experiencing slow rate of connections to our clients due to delays caused by our South African suppliers.
“We are therefore, doing this to help speed up supply delivery hence speeding up our operations. This will also help reduce the risk of delay if we are to deal with a number of different suppliers as opposed to one supplier as is the current case.
“It will also give us an opportunity to manage our costs by considering different price options.”
He advised interested contractors to source the supplies they intend to sell to the LEC directly from manufacturers rather than the middlemen.
Motšoari said currently, a South African company, Atcom Electrical Suppliers supplies 95 percent of LEC’s supplies.
“We have already issued a tender in the local media inviting interested local contractors to bid for the job of supplying different types of goods on one-year contracts.”
He said candidates must have valid electrical supplier licenses and trader licenses among other the requirements to qualify.