EnergyWise start-up could relieve hard-pressed Basotho consumers



MASERU– The spike in fuel and electricity prices coupled with the high cost of living has thrown Basotho into penny-pinching as consumers grapple with alternative means of survival to help curb the soaring cost of living.

The Russia-Ukraine invasion in February 2022 plunged the world into fuel shortage.  Just recently, Basotho have had to dig deeper into their pockets as fuel prices escalate, where petrol93 accrued with M0.75 bring the price to M19.80 per litre, petrol95 rising with M0.85 resulting in to M20.25 per litre while diesel ascended with M0.35 accruing to M21.55 a litre and illuminating paraffin remains unchanged at M16.50 a litre.

Furthermore, in December 2022, the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) introduced a 7.85 tariff increase that shook the electricity bills of most Basotho households.  This was a budget crippling blow as most households in the country rely on electricity, illuminating paraffin and liquefied petroleum gas for cooking, heating and refrigeration of food.

An alternative is in the horizon to help alleviate some of the pressure weighing down on Basotho households.  Thanks to the National University of Lesotho’s Innovation Hub, a solar energy company called EnergyWise, is eager to help Basotho with clean energy inspired inventions.

This seems like a sensible move to take advantage of the amount of sun the country gets, and to find a way to produce energy without any gas emissions.

The company is the brain child of three NUL Sustainable Energy students, under the supervision of Professor Leboli Thamae and Dr Naleli Matjelo. The trio, Molibeli Rakauoane, Thaane ‘Mokose and Tabempe Lesenyeho, working in collaboration with lecturers started the company in February 2021 and got registered in 2022.

The company started out as a project and quickly snow balled into something bigger. EnergyWise hosts a range of solar inspired appliances, but the star of showcase is their solar cooker. The company entered their products into the Lesotho Competitiveness and Financial Inclusion Project (CAFI) and walked away with the M120, 000 in funding.

The basis of the company is to create global warming friendly solutions for village women who face risks collecting wood to cook. This can also be a solution to Basotho homes to alleviate the strain of the cost of electricity and petroleum products used in the running of the kitchen.

Up to now EnergyWise is producing all of their products on order. “The company is still looking into making improvements to the existing model of the solar cooker to further enhance outdoor cooking experience, said one of the founders Rakauoane in an interview with Public Eye this week.  EnergyWise could be just what the doctor ordered to help Basotho out of the financial constraint of skyrocketing electricity and fuel increases.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *