The Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, has said his Ministry will join the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) for the sustainability of electricity in the country. Government is expected to pay a US$500,000 annually as part of its own contribution to the West Africa Power Pool and the trade in energy will start in June 2020. He made this statement at the usual government press briefing at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information and Communication on Youyi Building in Freetown, on Thursday 10th October 2019. The Minister said, the country remains challenged with electricity supply during the dry season, therefore, it is but fitting that government through his ministry engage with other countries for power supply when the need arises. “For over two decades, when we talk about two sectors one is the generation, whereby we produce the power by ourselves, and secondly, transmission and distribution.” The Minister said, generation capacity was very low, and the available generation was very expensive and above all, it was not affordable. He stressed that for people to benefit from electricity, it has to be affordable. He revealed that he terminated the initial contract by the previous regime, and that was the reason why “we went in for a second ship to effectively supply electricity in the country. We inherited a regime that was charging 19.5 dollar cent per kilowatt hour, for us that was not good enough, we therefore resorted to negotiations and was able to bring the tariff down to 16.5 cents.”
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He said the power that is generated is utilized by us. “We took over a situation whereby both were in crisis.” Kanja said. He disclosed that it is highly likely that the supply will fall from 50 megawatt to 8 megawatt so it is a wise decision to join WAPP. The money which EDSA is generating is far less than the profit they are supposed to be making. He however dismissed rumors making rounds on social media that they will increase tariff. “My ministry is not responsible for increase or review of tariff, but the Water and Regulatory Commission.” the Minister noted. Some people said they are experiencing constant blackout in their communities. Hawa Bundu, a resident in the Wellington Community said, they experience power cut on a regular basis, yet, hardly does EDSA explain to them the reason for the power cut. Isata Kamara, a resident of Kissy, said, they are experiencing same in their community. The Minister said, the power cut in some communities is not unconnected to the fact that the capacity of the transformer is very low, so, it is difficult to transmit power from one community to the other.
By Sulaiman Karim Sesay
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