With Government to Offset Outstanding Debt…   Karpowership Commences Partial Electricity Supply to the Capital City of Freetown

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By Amin Kef Sesay

 Residents of Freetown will now breathe a sigh of relief as it was reliably learnt by this medium that an agreement has been reached between Karpowership Management and the Government of Sierra Leone. Based on the agreement reached, Karpowership has decided to partially supply electricity to the capital city of Freetown.

As Freetown was plunged into darkness for over a week as a result of frequent electricity outage affecting various facets of life, on Thursday April 18, April 20, 2024, President Dr. Julius Maada Bio convened a high-level meeting at State House with key stakeholders from the energy sector in response to the dire energy situation plaguing Freetown. The aim of the meeting was to urgently address the power outage crisis gripping the capital city of Freetown.

The meeting, attended by a high-powered delegation and representatives from crucial energy sector entities, sought prompt solutions to alleviate the energy woes afflicting the capital.

According to the Directorate of Communications, Office of the President, the discussions centered on devising immediate measures to tackle Freetown’s energy crisis and restore reliable electricity supply to its inhabitants.

An understanding was reached between the Government and Karpowership on Saturday, April 20,2024 for electricity supply to be partially provided for the Western Area. However, both parties agreed to continue negotiations on payments this week.

Whether this understanding reached will hold is a wait and see situation as previously similar agreements had been made to establish a payment plan but the Government failed to fulfill its commitments to settle millions of dollars owed to Karpowership.

Details of the new agreement have not been disclosed yet and the Government of Sierra Leone is yet to issue a press release regarding the payment.

Prior to the understanding arrived at the meeting, Karpowership stated its stance on taking the difficult decision to scale down its supply from 65MW to 5MW which was made known in its recent Press Release that it had to limit its energy generation in Sierra Leone, where it has met 80 percent of the country’s electricity needs since 2018.

The service provider revealed that it has not received payment from the country for a long time forcing it to reduce its electricity production because it could not pay fuel suppliers. It categorically pointed out that they regretfully had to reduce production but will continue to have low production in order to continue to provide service to critically important institutions such as hospitals and schools.

According to Karpowership, since 2018, it has been a proud partner of Sierra Leone, providing reliable energy generation through their innovative Powership technology furthering how they take their responsibilities to partner countries seriously and do the utmost to accommodate challenging circumstances.

However, the electricity supplier stated how the inability to procure fuel due to outstanding payments, not only to Karpowership but also to third-party suppliers, has forced them as a company to take that difficult step.

It reiterated that in light of the situation, they have made the decision to maintain a low level of generation to ensure that essential public services, including hospitals and schools, have access to electricity.

“We recognize the impact of the suspension of operations will bring disruption to Freetown and other areas. We deeply regret we have had to take this difficult decision, but without fuel we simply can’t produce electricity,” Karpowership stated adding that it remains committed to working closely with officials underscoring how they understand the importance of reliable electricity supply for the development and well-being  of the country stressing that they are dedicated to finding a sustainable solution.

As for now it is not really clear as to whether the Government is prepared to offset the outstanding debt of over $40 Million it owes the service provider

But what is sure so far is that the energy service provider, Karpowership, is a business entity that definitely depends on the availability of capital to continue its operations. In the absence of funds it cannot continue to operate effectively.

Also calls that were made for the removal of the Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, were not the panacea to the energy problem because for him to function effectively, resources have to be provided.

According to a School of Thought whether the Minister, Alhaji Kanja Sesay, goes or not, the problem hinges on lack of adequate resources.


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