26th May 2018
Energy Projects Maintain by Japan & Senegal Nationals! Why Not Locals?
Asks Mahmud T. Kargbo (01/06/17)
Sierra Leone energy projects cannot depend on foreigners forever. Sierra Leoneans must be trained to take over the future engineering.
Sierra Leone engineers for EGTC cannot conduct schedule maintenance for the power plants at Kingtom, Black Hall Road and Bumbuna Hydro and its township. They both have different schedule maintenance and till date, we import experts from Japan and Senegal to come and do the work for us. (Pictured: Energy Minister Henry Macaulay).
How can we be bluffing that the electricity is for engineers? The point am making here is our own engineers don't have the aptitude and the skills to maintenance our electricity machines. That's why the maintenance cost is too high almost unaffordable.
Currently, five out of the six panels that were receiving energy from Bumbuna suffered blast and EDSA failed to communicate this to the customers. To make matters worse, the manufacturing companies of the said panels have gone out of business.
Which means EGTC must look for a company that will manufacture these panels and it will take at least six months for this to happen. So Bumbuna will be running, but consumers will not use electricity because of the damaged panels.
PROBLEMS BETWEEN EDSA AND EGTC
From my findings, currently there is no one that properly understands about the process of unbundling energy both in the Ministry of Energy, EDSA and EGTC and it is seriously creating relentless problems for administrators and engineers in the said institutions. No wonder with all the huge amount of tax payers money spent in our energy sector the performance outcome continue to beat our imaginations.
To start with, there are no power purchase agreement that governs the participation of EGTC and EDSA which was a huge blunder. And the truth is a legislative instrument that is to bind both institutions should have been put in place. So since the inception of the unbundling energy project in Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Energy, EDSA and EGTC are operating under a matter of having the knowledge or being a fool.
EDSA currently owe EGTC 70 Billion Leones. This happening irrespective of the fact that EDSA is selling the kilowatts hour to consumers but they are just paying operational and maintenance cost to EGTC.
UNBUNDLING NOT WORKING:
EDSA is now asking aggregators to sell electricity, but there's a sense that not all electricity sold is reported to EDSA.
Due to EDSA's not be in a position to reconcile kilowatts hours-units given to aggregators for sale. Money return in lieu of kilowatts sold failed to match. There's total lack of financial accountability on the part of EDSA to customers and government. It is very clear to see that unbundling put a veil over the eyes of EDSA, EGTC and the Minister.
Unbundling energy is a western business culture injected in a Sierra Leone system whose operators lack total knowledge of western business culture. There are no rules of conduct between EGTC and EDSA. There are no tools so how can one claim the benefit of unbundling when the people (engineers) do not understand the western business culture? So a big policy institution was said to be implemented with no clue in it.
The business aspect of electricity is what is missing in our unbundling. Unbundling electricity is not all about engineering. It's a market based philosophy with engineering only one third. There's also the economics, financial, technical and quantitative analysis which means one must explain the figures.
For our engineers to sustain the archaic impression that the unbundling electricity industry is an engineering field is not true. Yes, there's a role for engineering and that's manufacturing the power plant and the operation of power plant.
That's transmission and distribution of power plant and to operate them only. The rest of it is business based on economics, finance and accounting
Courtesy: Mahmud Tim Kargbo