By Sorie Fofana.
A two-year Utility Grid Infrastructure and Electricity Supply Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone represented by the Ministry of Energy and the Karadeniz Powership Kaya Bey Company Limited for the generation of 30MW of electricity has been concluded but it is yet to be signed by both parties. The signing ceremony which was supposed to have taken place in Freetown on Monday 4th June, 2018 was put on hold because of unanticipated reasons.
The Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay refused to sign the Agreement because of “frequent power outages and network instability during the testing operations” especially on the first day of the testing period (Friday).
As of Sunday, the network has stabilized and the testing had gone on smoothly. If this positive trend continues, the Minister of Energy will sign the Agreement on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone not later than Friday 8th June, 2018.
It has to be said that since the Karpowership testing operations started, there has been a significant improvement in electricity supply in the Western Area. We hope that with this new Agreement, blackout will soon be a thing of the past.
The APC administration of President Ernest Bai Koroma signed several dubious energy contracts with Independent Power Producers like Aggreko. The Aggreko contract almost collapsed EDSA (Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority).
Under the Aggreko contract, EDSA was (is) to provide fuel for the Aggreko Plant. EDSA was also required and did make a one-off Capacity Charge payment of US$1,690,000 (One Million Six hundred and ninety thousand United States dollars) to Aggreko and on top of that, Aggreko is charging a tariff of USc31/KWh.
Even with this Karpowership Agreement, the APC had negotiated and agreed to pay the company 19.596 USc/Kwh.
When the SLPP came to power in April 2018, President Julius Maada Bio and Alhaji Kanja Sesay insisted on renegotiating the Agreement for the good of the people of Sierra Leone. After tough negotiations, the owners of Karpowership agreed to accept 16.4 USc/KWh. On top of that, the Government is not expected to pay any Capacity Charge, no payment for fuel and no hidden charges in the Agreement.
This Agreement represents an annual savings of US$9 Million per year for the Government and US$27 Million, if the Agreement extends to three years. International energy experts have described this Agreement as the best energy contract ever signed in this country.
We hope that the network will continue to stabilize and the Agreement is finally signed on Friday 8th June, 2018.
Thumbs up for President Bio and Alhaji Kanja Sesay!