October 18, 2018
By Jariatu S Bangura
Members of the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Energy have demanded robust restructuring at the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) in order to avoid alleged frequent sabotage at the authority.
Members were speaking in a meeting with senior officials of EDSA regarding frequent power outage, rapid breakdown of machinery at the Bo-Kenema Power Service and how power is distributed across the country.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Kekurah Vandy opined that the trend at which officials were behaving would hinder the progress of the authority.
“There are numerous challenges at the authority but you alone cannot handle them without the involvement of committee members. You are responsible for the distribution of power. There are certain things that the committee would want to know and will want to provide support in that direction,” he said.
He urged the EDSA Director-General instruct his staff to evenly distribute the limited units they have rather than sell it to their personal customers.
“It will be good if they sell what they have to people that need it rather than segregating them. Tell them to do it willingly. Operations should be done despite the political arena. Undertake thorough responsibility and the committee will help in that direction as when EDSA fails we would all fail as a country. Electricity is a necessity for us, therefore, it should be given to us,” he noted.
Hon. Vandy stated that the committee has realised certain anomalies among workers of the authority, but “one thing I want you to know is that if you do not like the leadership resign and go somewhere else where you think you might be comfortable enough to work. Don’t politicise the distribution of electricity. We will have to come to your offices without your knowledge as we need to talk to the staff. If you are not satisfied, resign and go away. We think EDSA needs a robust restructuring. If you will have to be sympathetic or leave things as they look it will hinder the progress of EDSA and the institution will fall,” he charged.
On his part, Hon. Charles Abdulai noted that it was disheartening for the city of Bo to be grappling with frequent power outage and expressed his disappointment over the manner in which the arrangement for generator was done in that part of the country.
He noted that the development was a call for concern and suggested that the issue be addressed immediately.
Also, Hon. Dr Mark Mamoud Kalokoh charged that the Bo-Kenema Power Service was nothing good to write home about, a development he said was a call for concern as Bo was being considered as the second city.
He said the frequent power outage in the southern city should be investigated by the authority to ascertain its real cause.
In addition, Hon. Abdul Sankoh stated that the deplorable state of the external plant and poor installations was a call for attention.
He said for the sale of energy to be realised, the roads leading to some communities should be constructed, adding that the issue of retaining bad contractors should also be looked into.
Director General (Management Contractor) of EDSA, Ing. Safaa Isaa said the Bo-Kenema power station project was on-going as the procurement process has been done and work was about to commence to address the situation.
He said the frequent breakdown in some communities was due to poor networks as capacity was far below what was expected in line with demand.
He assured the committee that issues raised by members would be addressed with immediate effect.
He, however, noted that revenue generated by EDSA was not enough to ameliorate the situation at the authority as monies collected was most times very minimal compared to expenditure.
“Sometimes we spend more than what we generate or receive. What we received normally is put into the account of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank and retrieving it, we have to write cheques and it takes long for us to access it,” he said.