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Power Outage…

VP Appeals for Patience, Assures Sustainable Power Supply Soon

June 4, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie 

power
VP Dr. Juldeh Jalloh

As the Freetown municipality and its environs have been grappling with power outage for the past weeks, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh has pleaded for calm, assuring that the government was working out modalities for sustainable supply of electricity.

Just after the result of the March 31 presidential run-off election was announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Freetown was engulfed in darkness and the trend has continued in the past few weeks.

Residents of the city of Freetown are divided as to who to blame for the sudden cut in power supply, while calls are getting louder for the new government to ensure the availability of uninterrupted power supply.

While majority are of the view that this new phenomenon is as a result of poor management of the sector by the past regime, few argue blame the current ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).

However, during an Iftar hosted by Muslim journalists in the conference room of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) on Thursday, May 31, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh appealed for patience, saying that the new administration would deal with the problem holistically and ensure sustainable supply of electricity supply in the city.

“We are not going to be blackmailed by blackout. We will have to be in blackout to be able to deal with this problem definitely. We don’t want to continue to be subsidising electricity because there is a double loss. Please exercise patience with us. You will see the blackout for a couple of more days but there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he told journalists.

Dr. Jalloh attributed the systematic power outage to the transition from one chaotic management system to a more refined and sustainable management of electricity regime.

The Vice President stated that over the years the past government decided to establish two companies – one to manage electricity assets and the other to distribute and sell electricity.

He added that a new dimension was introduced into electricity supply in the country, wherein independent power producers were brought in to generate electricity and sell to the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA), selling electricity at very high prices – above 30 cents – to EDSA, which in- turn sells at 18 cents.

“Already, there is a loss between buying and selling and then further EDSA lose 18% of what they sell because they cannot get it back. Over the years government have been subsidising electricity for Freetown alone Le30 billion and it is not sustainable,” he maintained.

Since they cannot afford to buy electricity from companies that are selling far above the average tariff, Dr. Jalloh disclosed that the new administration is currently negotiating with independent power producers that are prepared to sell half the price that the previous government was buying.

He maintained that they cannot afford to buy electricity from companies that were selling far above the tariff and also spend over Le400 billion annually on companies that were seemingly exploiting the people

“Electricity in this country has been a politically charged commodity as government will prefer to empty the coffers to give electricity. We will prefer not to empty the coffers but to try as best as possible to organise and give electricity,” Dr. Jalloh noted.

The Vice President also spoke about exploring renewable energy sources, adding that they are in discussions with companies across the board in a bid to ensure the provision of electricity in Freetown and the regions using solar, which is much cheaper, safe and environmental friendly.

Already, Minister of Finance, Jacob Jusu Saffa has secured financing from the World Bank for a 60mw solar energy project that is expected to be ready within 24 months.

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