…As Ministry of Energy inspects hydro dams
March 29, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
In a bid to boost socio-economic growth among rural people, the Ministry of Energy has begun constructing three hydro dams in Charlotte, Bankasoka and Makalie, in the Western Area Rural, Port Loko and Tonkolili districts respectively.
Each of the three dams will supply 2.2megawatts of electricity, according to Energy Ministry officials.
The construction exercise is being undertaken by a Chinese company called Hunan Construction Company.
Recently, Minister of Energy, Amb. Henry Macauley, and officials of the ministry inspected the three dams in order to see progress made so far.
At Charlotte village, Amb. Macauley said the government could not provide jobs for all the citizens of the country, adding that it would rather provide the enabling environment, such as regular electricity supply, so that the people with refrigerators could sell cold drinks and water to the public.
“The young men can establish a charging centre and make money. All these activities could boost the socio-economic growth of people,” he said.
According to the minister, the Charlotte hydro dam is 90% complete and it is expected to be handed over to the ministry by July this year.
At Port Loko, Amb. Macauley said 2.2 megawatts of electricity supply would serve at least 10,000 homes. He added that the Ministry was not only constructing hydro dam for the district, but would also install thermal plants to provide electricity during the dry season.
“You will soon start to see installation of poles and stringing of cables in the township of Port Loko. We are therefore calling on all of you to safeguard the equipments of the Ministry of Energy,” he said.
He expressed grave concern about the phenomenon of stealing of installed solar panels and their poles within the township of Port Loko, noting that development could not be sustained without ill-motivated people changing their attitudes.
At Makalie town, the energy minister said the dam had been in existence since 1980 and that it could produce 120 kilowatts of electricity, adding that the dam was being repaired to serve only Makalie township.
Ing. Paul Saffa, Deputy Director in the Ministry of Energy, said 16 transformers would be installed in the township of Port Loko with support from the Chinese government.
“Electricity is no longer a privilege but a right. Every towns and villages will have to benefit from this facility as long as we continue to get the support from the government,” he assured residents.
He urged the people of Port Loko to buy prepaid metres and pay their electricity bills regularly in order to continue to benefit from the facility, adding “electricity is not cheap.”
Translator for the Hunan Construction Company, Zhang Sheng, said they were confident of handing over the dam to the Ministry of Energy by August this year.
Paramount Chief of Maforki Chiefdom, in the Port Loko district, Alkalie Mellah II, said it was a dream actualised for the people to have access to electricity. The project, he said, would boost the socio-economic growth of his people.
He assured Ministry of Energy officials that he would do everything within his powers to safeguard equipment at the dam.
An inspection team at the Charlotte hydro dam in the Western Area Rural District