Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, says the interruptions in the smooth supply of electricity to parts of the Western Area was because of hitches in synchronising the new CLSG power system alongside the existing Bumbuna and Karpowership sources of electricity generation.
Sesay made the disclosure on the Ministry of Information and Communication’s Facebook page programme “Leh we talk to di minister”.
He said engineers are having some technical challenges to synchronise the various systems of energy generation but said they are working to restore uninterrupted supply of electricity.
Commenting on the high cost of tariff on electricity, he said increase has been done twice; in 2019, and now.
He also linked the high tariff to the foreign exchange situation and the high cost of fuel, noting that they are buying the energy from CLSG and the Karpower ship with hard currency.
According to him, the hard currency which the government buys the energy from the providers (CLSG and Karpowerhip), far exceeds what they collect from electricity consumers.
As a result, he said government is heavily subsidising, just to sustain the supply of power.
The energy minister also said Bumbuna Dam being the only asset the country has, functions on an Operational and Maintenance (O and M contract) with a company that runs it. He said that also costs the government huge sums of money since the government hasn’t got the capacity to run it.
Sesay pointed out that his ministry has however connected at least 100 communities nationwide to the main mini-grid and noted that there are programmes on the pipeline for more communities to be connected.
He said his ministry has in effect increased energy accessibility from 12% in 2018 to 35% nationwide.
He added that seven major towns in the country that include Moyamba, Kabala, Kailahun and Pujehun are on the verge of getting connected.
For Moyamba, he said World Bank has already agreed to sponsor the town’s electrification.
After stating that there are several other energy programmes that are yet to be fully implemented, he disclosed that his ministry is currently in contact with Statistics Sierra Leone to come up with an in-depth study of energy accessibility.