25th July 2017
Electricity Customers Express Anger for Poor Power Supply in Freetown
By N'Bompa Turay (29/06/17)
Poor electricity supply has been a cancer in Sierra Leone’s history as current customers continuously cry for better power services.
Reports say changes are difficult to be made in our nation. The change in the electricity sector from NPA to the new EDSA and EGTC has prompted numerous dissatisfaction and unhappiness among consumers for receiving blackouts instead of lights. (Pictured: Energy Minister Henry Macauley).
Some people are apprehensive over the change from the traditional and usual post paid meters to pre-paid ones for their day to day consumption of electricity.
But it is like emulating the strategy of the telephone companies, one has to maintain credit or top-up to be able to acquire their services. This became unusual as defaulters are addressed prior to the exchange of their meters and cried on the cost of the prepaid meters. The tariffs also are frowned at but who knows what EDSA and EGTC had to undergo to be able to accomplish their goal?
In this world of continuous growth, the companies are going through a lot within their administrative structuring of their staff and their greatest problem is that of procuring essential materials and equipment as most material and equipment providers transact their sales only in US dollars. As they have been forced to change the tariffs due to the current economic trend, more cries are coming out.
Many others complain that the extension of electricity to their area has gone to a standstill and especially in areas in the out skirts of Freetown such as the Rokel/Waterloo axis. The companies are planning to cover those areas and more at their earliest possible convenience.
Some of the facts about the new electricity tariffs are that the generation of electricity is very expensive but the cost of not having it is far more damaging. The Sierra Leone government is presently facing great difficulty to subsidise on electricity due to the current challenging financial situation that was caused by the Ebola crisis, plus the drastic fall of the Iron Ore prices in the world market.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that our government must stop subsidising for electricity and to implement the fifteen percent GST to qualify for another development package although it is not a new tax.
EDSA and EGTC use foreign currency to purchase power from independent power providers, spare parts and the cost of fuel and lubricants are also affected by fluctuations in foreign exchange. Therefore, the adjustment in the new tariffs will ensure reliability in the provision of the service.
Despite the increase, one could save on bills by using low energy consumption appliances like the newly introduced LED bulbs that could last for many hours and consume twenty percent less of electricity and environmentally friendly as compared to the 1,200 hours for ordinary filament bulbs.
This is all done to create a reliable electricity supply that could spin the wheels of development faster to make our country self reliant. The proactive Minister of Energy Henry Macauley recently called on all Sierra Leonean to patient because Bumbuna is shutting down for ten days.