Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sierra Leone's Bo & Kenema Hit By Inadequate Power Supply

 Bo and Kenema in the Southeast of Sierra Leone which have been benefiting from the Bo/Kenema Power Service (BKPS) almost on a constant basis, are currently facing serious inadequacies in electricity supply as a result of the closure of the Hydro station, one of two sources of power supply to the two towns.

According to reports monitored by Awareness Times Correspondent in Kenema, no specific reason has been advanced by the BKPS for the closure of the Hydro station other than that it is "undergoing rehabilitation".

It was however confirmed by Awareness Times’ Correspondent that indeed the hydro was under massive rehabilitation by a team of Chinese Engineers. A Chinese Engineer who spoke to this medium up at Kenema, intimated that the inadequacy in the supply of electricity from the hydro dam was as a result of drastic decrease in output. He disclosed that the hydro’s output prior to the start of the rehabilitation work was far much below its original output capacity of 4 megawatts. He said they were working to restore this original output capacity with the possibility of increment in order for the hydro to meet the growing needs of the population rise in the town.

Mr. Lamin Kamanda, the Distribution Engineer and Manager of the Kenema branch of BKPS told Awareness Times that the suspension of operations of the Hydro station is part of an earlier decision taken by management since last year when it realized the "unprecedented fluctuations and low velocity in the electricity supply", which he said was "very much unusual". He said it was as a result of that development which management decided to initiate the rationing of the distribution of electricity in Kenema and Bo towns. He however assured that Kenema would not go entirely without electricity supply. According to Mr. Kamanda, Kenema and Bo would now supplied electricity the Thermal plant in Bo which however, he acknowledged, is still short of the required voltage output to adequately supply the towns with interrupted flow of electricity. He disclosed that the Thermal can only afford to produce 900 kilowatts of electric power which he said, is far below it original output capacity of 1.6 megawatts.

No date has been indicated for the completion of the hydro rehabilitation works, which is likely to be a very long time. What is certain however is that Kenema and Bo towns would have to contend with the incessant electricity flow and of course the constant blackouts until such time when the Hydro station is fully operational again. It is expected that once this is done, electricity supply to both Kenema and Bo via the BKPS would be adequate and assured.

Link to Sierra Leone's Bo & Kenema Hit By Inadequate Power Supply: Sierra Leone News