« We cannot downplay the significance of having a well functional energy sector because rapid development will only materialize where there is dependable and reliable electricity supply. » words of Henry Macauley, former minister of Energy.
Over the past years, he said measurable electricity production increased. « Last year we did almost 350million kWh. Installed capacity also increased to about 280MW, » he stated.
Mr. Macaulay agreed that electricity supply creates demands, and there is need to always have more power available than what we need today. If such is not so we will suffer blackout.
« We have been able to leverage the country’s bilateral relationships and credibility to encourage some very innovative transactions, he states and revealed that a company negotiated an agreement with the Energy Steering Committee chaired by State House that includes MOE, MOFED, PPP, EDSA, and EGTC.
The agreement, he said, made provision for the supply of power and 30 days after bill EDSA.
Mr. Macaulay however opines that EDSA should have sold the electricity and collected the revenue. A vessel arrived on December 28th, 2017 and constructed towers and made connections which are now completed, he reported, adding that as it had been rumoured at no point in time did the vessel produced power.
“During the dry season, we lose up to 90% of Bumbuna which is natural and not anyone’s doing. There is need to run the thermal plants to fill up the gap. The demand for power in Freetown has jumped from 30MW or so few years back to over 70MW today, without counting the manufacturers and industries currently without electricity. Our thermals are grossly insufficient to fill the gap and we have to resort to emergency power plants such as Aggreko which uses diesel,” he stated.
The former minister stated among other things that the cheaper HFO consuming power-ship is grossly reducing the cost of providing power especially during the dries and to have available electricity to stimulate industry, businesses and economic growth, thereby providing jobs and economic activity.
He said the project is not an Emergency power project but a Medium Term Power project.
“As regards the rumour that I ran away, again totally false I had a pending medical leave and I took permission from the former President to proceed after elections, and this I did. I have since communicated with President Bio to intimate him of this whilst congratulating him on his success. All the same, as many customers of EDSA would attest, I have been active on energy fora in my usual way, offering customer service to solve energy problems,” the former Energy Minister intimated.
He noted that top SLPP officials have also been in touch with him to assist with his knowledge on the Energy situation saying he had freely contributed and will continue to do.
“I believe Government should be in continuum and the best way to build a Nation is to BUILD, not to destroy. Let me draw your attention to a newspaper article of July 2014, in which I pleaded not to politicize electricity because of its importance to the nation’s development,” he highlighted.
He said he holds the same view today and pray that his successor builds on the irrefutable successes of the Energy Sector in Sierra Leone.
“My support is always freely at his disposal and wish him the best of luck,” the erstwhile Energy Minister concluded.