Sierra Leone Minster of Energy, Alhaji Dr. Kanja Ibrahim Sesay, has warned that anyone caught stealing electricity will be arrested and sent to prison for either five years or pay the sum of Fifty Thousand New Leones (NLe 50,000.00).
The Energy minister was addressing Journalists during Ministry of Information and Civic Education weekly press conference held at the conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday 3rd October, 2023.
According to the Energy Minister, the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) are losing a huge sum of money through electricity theft.
He disclosed that they have started sending out their teams to do on-the-spot check on meters and all other connections to make sure that no one is stealing electricity.
“We have arrested some people within EDSA that are conniving with outsiders to steal energy and two have been sacked,” the Minister said.
He continued that their main purpose is that they will provide affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to the people of Sierra Leone, and to also increase energy access to people that do not have, such as homes, factories, ministries, hospitals and banks among others.
“Everybody should have access to electricity because without electricity we cannot do many things,” he explained.
He further disclosed that Bumbuna that is currently suppling Makeni, Freetown and its environs 50 Megawatts electricity and will increase its capacity to 53 megawatts.
The saddest thing, he said about Bumbuna is that it is seasonal which means that during the raining season it will increase its capacity and decrease during the dry season to about 8 megawatt.
He explained that in 2015, the government wanted to unbundle the sector to put generation on one side and transmission on the other side which is all the more reason why today one hears about the Electricity Generation Transmission Company (EGTC). He further spoke about the Electricity Distribution and Supply Agency (EDSA) which the public know that gives them light that they are using.
“When light is available, EDSA is responsible for it, but what people don’t know is that EGTC are the ones supplying light to EDSA which we are using presently,” he stated.
He mentioned that they wanted the public to know that the government buys the power, and that the ship at Kingtom is the main source that supply power to the government because the government has a signed contract with them.
He stated that when president Bio acquired power, he was faced with a number of challenges in the energy sector which are: lack of generation capacity that makes it only 16% of Sierra Leonean were able to afford electricity.
“When we came to power, we also met Karpowership but it was not into operation again,” he noted.
He noted that when they came to power in 2018, the kilo per hour was 33 cent and it was too much. The percentage at that time was 19.4 cent, but they told them that is still too much for them. They negotiated because they were desperate for power at that particular time and they want to reduce the tariffs from 19.4 cent which they told them the contractor to reduce it to 16.4 cent and they were able to bring it down to 3 cent.
“We saved the government $ 18 billion for two years by 3 cent which they reduced from, and that makes it $ 9 billion per year” he explained.
According to the Energy Minister the government signed two years contract with Karpowership and that government are not the ones in charge of selling meters and oil but the private sectors sells to the public. He ended by saying that Karpowership contract will end in 2025.
By Adama Conteh