The Lesotho Electricity Company (Pty) Ltd (LEC) is wholly owned by the Government of Lesotho (GoL). It has been registered in terms of the Companies Act of 1967 (as amended) and established in 2006 in terms of the LEC (Pty) Ltd Establishing and Vesting Act 2006. The assets, liabilities, rights and obligations of the former Lesotho Electricity Corporation were vested in the company. Previously as a Corporation, LEC was established in 1969 in terms of the Electricity Act of 1967 and the Electricity Regulations of 1970. The company assumes a separate legal persona, and can sue or be sued in its own right. It is licenced to operate under the Lesotho Electricity Authority Act of 2002, as amended.
Before the LEC came into existence, the service of providing electricity was under the direct control of the Government of Lesotho. A very small coal-fire generating plant was used to supply a handful of domestic consumers in the Maseru West and Old Europa areas, where the foreigners resided. This same plant also supplied the Maseru Administrative centre with power.
In 1965 the responsibility shifted to the Public Works government department. Thus in 1966, the idea of establishing a parastatal which would execute the provision of electricity throughout the country more efficiently, was vigorously debated. Mr. G. K. Herrmann, a German national now living in Spain, will always be remembered for his tireless efforts in convincing the government authorities about the need to establish a parastatal. He inevitably became the first Managing Director of the Lesotho Electricity Company from 1969 to 1971,when he left the country.
As the demand for electricity increased, an agreement was entered into between the Lesotho Government and Eskom of South Africa, to supply Lesotho with electricity, to supplement the one purchased from the ‘Muela Hydro-power station. In February 2005, LEC also entered into another power purchase agreement with Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM)of Mozambique. To date, LEC buys electricity from ‘Muela Hydro-power station (LHDA), Eskom and EDM through a 132kV and 88kV networks. In Qacha’sNek, LEC purchases electricity from Eskom through a 22kV line from Matatiele in the RSA. Qacha’s Nek is the only district that is not connected to the main national grid.
The LEC Transmission network comprise of the following voltage levels 132kV, 88kV, 66kV and 33kV. LEC distributes with 11kV up to the customers supply point at 220V and 380V; though there are some places like Thabana-Morenawhere LEC distributes with 33kV. These are the lines that form LEC core business, and without them and its customers, LEC does not exist. Theabove categories of electricity transmission, distribution and supply infrastructure are planned, constructed and maintained by the Engineering Division, while theFinanceDivision is responsible for the accounting functionand sales of electricity in the company. The Corporate Services Division takes care of facilities and fleet management, administrative services, Public Relations and Marketing functions.Lastly, the Corporate Functions Division houses the Legaldepartment & Corporate Secretariat, Internal Audit, Corporate Planning, Information Technology, Human Resources and Risk Management departments of the company.
LECis believed to be one of the first parastatals, if not the first in the country. Today it remains the sole supplier of electricity in Lesotho. It was subsequently issued with a Composite License in terms of Section 50 of the Lesotho Electricity Authority Act of 2002, to transmit, distribute and supply electricity. It therefore hasan obligation, in terms of the license, to supply power to all customers who are within its service territory. It is however, authorized to supply electricity throughout the country, even beyond the LEC service territory. The service territory is defined as the area around 3.5km of the existing distribution network. It is also responsible for economic procurement of power for its customers.