STEG updates Ministry of Energy on status of US$11m project


…50% job done with 120 labourers employed

April 11, 2016  By Joseph S. Margai

STEG International Services, a Tunisia-based company contracted to procure, install, and commission the reinforcement and extension of medium and low voltage network and the supply of prepaid metres and vending stations in the Western Area, has given update of its work to officials of the Ministry of Energy.

The total cost of the project is estimated at over eleven million United States Dollars (US$11m), with funds provided by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The project started in October 2015 and is expected to be completed by December 2016.

During the presentation ceremony to update Ministry of Energy officials on the status of the IDB project at the Radisson Blu Hotel last Thursday, Jamil Korked, Deputy General Manager of STEG International Services, said 50 percent of the job had been done by 176 workers, among whom are 6 engineers, 10 supervisors, 40 linesmen and 120 labourers.

“Immediately after the signing of the contract, STEG International Services proceeded to procure the project materials. All technical specifications were approved by the consultant before the shipment of the materials,” he disclosed. He added that they have at hand 95 percent of the materials needed for the project, which include 10,200 prepaid metres, 6,685 wooden poles, 48 transformers, 21 package substations, among other items.

He disclosed that the survey and design phase of the project was 100 percent complete and that all low voltage poles have been erected except for two sites which are being constructed. He said 94 percent of MV poles have also been erected, and added that they have got 16 percent of stringing of medium voltage and 14 percent of the stringing of low voltage done.

Among the challenges to the project, he highlighted issues relating to the right of way, which according to him impedes the progress of the project, adding that they have experienced stiff opposition from some citizens for their private lands during the erection of poles.

He pledged STEG’s commitment to ensuring that the project is completed within the time frame.

Mrs. Zainab Buya-Kamara, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, said they were pleased with the progress that STEG International Services had made so far. She noted that current electricity generation cables are over 50 years old and that such had led to technical and economic losses during transmission of power to customers.

“The project is aimed at supplying electricity to communities that have not benefited from electricity supply, including those that have not benefited for a very long time,” she stated.

With regards the challenges, she said the ministry would have to collaborate with SLRA and other stakeholders to address them, so that the project would be delivered on time.

Director of Energy, in the Ministry of Energy, Benjamin Kamara, said another of their challenges was that when the project started people had the perception that they would be compensated for lands where the poles are erected, adding that no compensation package was promised.

Director General of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA), Alhaji Timbo, urged STEG International Services to provide training for his staff during the 18 months duration of the project.