Puma to expand into rural areas

Puma suspends charging point roll-out due to low EV uptake, high prices

PUMA Energy Namibia plans reviving three service stations and building two new ones as part of the company’s expansion programme into rural areas this year.

This was confirmed by Puma’s country retail manager, Charlene Oothuizen, who said Puma will be focusing in the eastern and northern parts of the country, without giving specific locations.

According to miningandenergy.com, Puma’s general manager Adell Samuelson said the company will be reviving and upgrading rural service stations with the view of improving their offerings.

“Puma Energy Namibia is following in the footsteps of Puma Energy Zambia, where the first mobile filling station was opened in a rural area in August 2023. Therefore, this direct investment is aimed at stimulating development and growth in far-flung areas. If further echoes the company’s purpose of energising the communities,” said Samuelson.

According to Oothuizen, the service stations will be connected to the national power grid, as well as have solar energy connections through Puma’s other company – Puma Energies – which focuses on the provision of renewable energy.

Samuelson said Puma Namibia is now looking at the constraints, such as tanks for unleaded petrol that should be underground as per the Ministry of Mines and Energy’s regulations.

“Of most importance is to ensure that these sites make business sense in terms of return on investments,” she said, adding that they are targeting rural areas as part of the existing moratorium on issuing licences for new service stations in urban areas.

Chief information officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Andreas Simon said the moratorium was initially put in place by the ministry to prevent the mushrooming of filling stations in one area, especially in small towns.

“I recommend that the ministry of mines fast-tracks the lifting of the moratorium on the wholesale licences to allow investment to flow into the country,” he said, adding that Namibia is a hotspot for bunkering services.

This is the supplying of fuel to passing ships going to different destinations.

He said the ministry should consider lifting the moratorium on wholesale licences and issue retail licences to those who need them the most.

“Perhaps close consultation with relevant stakeholder might fast-track the process,” he said.

Ministry of mines spokesperson Theopolina Hasheela said the moratorium covered retail and wholesale licences.

“The retail licence is for operating a service station anywhere in Namibia, while the wholesale licence allows one to import and export fuel products,” she said.

Samuelson said Puma is constructing lubrication bays at Kuisebmond, Walvis Bay, and Soweto Market in Windhoek, where it plans offering free engine oil, coolant and battery water check-ups as part of further efforts to diversify service delivery.

“These will be completed and operationalised before the end of the first quarter,” she said.

In addition, Samuelson said the company had partnered with Woermann Brock and Hungry Lion at its various retail sites across the country.

Puma further plans to install a free Wi-Fi network at 10 sites in the first phase, with all 60 sites targeted by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Puma Energy has acquired a 49% stake in global energy business MBHE Group, a company that provides renewable energy solutions to customers across southern Africa and owns its own high-quality renewable energy assets across the continent.

The transaction aligns with Puma Energy’s purpose of energising communities and helping industrial and commercial customers prepare for the future of energy and decarbonise their operations with fully integrated renewable energy solutions.

MBHE is an industry leader in the design, supply, installation and operation of solar PV systems and battery technology catering for numerous sectors, including retail centres, manufacturing, hospitals, heavy industry and mining.

The partnership with Puma Energy will drive expansion by providing access to new customers and unlocking financial facilities to fully develop its pipeline of projects.

– email: matthew@namibian.com.na

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