Freetown residents grope in darkness!  

0
88
SHARE

May 25, 2015 By Hawa Amara

“Thank God for Chinese light,” says Foday M. Dumbuya, a student of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), University of Sierra Leone. Foday has forgotten there is something called electricity; rather, his Chinese light is now one of his prized items. He switches it on whenever it’s getting dark in the evening.

“As a student I have a lot to do with electricity. I have to work on my assignment using my laptop but I cannot due to blackout,” he adds.

Foday, who lives at Sumaila Town, in western Freetown goes several weeks without his electricity light bulbs blinking. “The constant blackout in the Sumaila Town community has created a lot of problems for residents. For over a month now, we have been here without electricity supply,” he says.

Even the Chinese light comes with its headache, narrates Foday. He cannot afford to buy batteries all the time. Now, he wants the government to pay more attention to providing electricity for residents in his area.

Perennial power blackout affects every sector of life, including businesses. Drinks and food are more expensive because people have to run their generators to keep drinks cold or preserve food stuff.

Hotels are more expensive than they should be because hoteliers spend so much money on running giant generators. Factories are laying off workers because production is low due to a lack of power supply.

Isata Kargbo of Leicester Road community, who sells drinks, says that due to the constant blackout in her area, her business is operating at a loss.

“The constant blackout is gravely affecting my business since I need electricity to cool my drinks. I have lost most of my customers and my products, including juice and ginger bear, always perish.”

Another issue created by the constant blackout is that thieves do take advantage of the situation to break into homes and steal properties. “Since Leicester Road is a hilly community, thieves always break into our houses whenever there is blackout,” adds Isata.

Similar stories about blackout are being told almost everywhere across the city. Momodu Turay, along Damba Road in the Murray Town area, western Freetown, also told Concord Times that they have gone for over thirty days without electricity.

Meanwhile, the situation is worst for residents in the eastern part of the city. “For us here at Wellington, we are now accustomed to blackout because we are not even aware as to whether there is a government institution responsible for supplying electricity,” maintains Mohamed Kamara, adding that they only see electricity poles and cables running all over the place even as there has not been electricity for months.

However, government appears to be trying to deal with the situation. Last January, it unbundled the National Power Authority (NPA). The unbundling of NPA gave birth to two power-management institutions – the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA) and the Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC).

Expectations now are that while the raining season sets in, the Bumbuna Dam may be able to provide the required electricity wattage for Freetown residents. The only problem is that the rains do not last forever.

It means that there may be a temporary relief, but unless government uses the intervening period to remedy the situation, Freetown residents should be ready to continue to grope in darkness.


SHARE