managing director of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has
admitted that the national electricity giant today is going through one of the
biggest challenges in its history in the provision of water and electricity to
Baba Fatajo made this remarks on Wednesday during the laying of a foundation stone for a new 20 Mega Watts power station in Brikama in the West Coast Region.
“This unfortunate situation is a result of a culmination of inherited factors ranging from obsolete infrastructure due to lack of proper and adequate investments over the past several years, inadequate capacity, among others. Presently, only 45MW of generation capacity is available in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA) compared to at least 70 MW demand, making black outs inevitable,” he said. “The company’s financial viability was also not looking good with a debt portfolio of close to 200 million United States dollars. However, despite this grim outlook, all was not lost and there is real reason for hope. The Government of the Gambia in collaboration with the NAWEC Management and other relevant stakeholders ensured proper reassessment of the country’s power sector and prepared a sector road map to reaffirm government’s vision for this all important sector.The primary focus of the roadmap is on the Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP).”
Fatajo noted that in the short term, they have outlined an emergency plan for 2017, adding that the main features of the plan in the GBA are fast tracking of capacity expansion through rehab and new engines to reach the minimum 70 MW by the end of the calendar year.
This, he added, should help to phase out black outs, pointing out that other measures in the GBA which includes the replacement of all street lights with LED bulbs to reduce demand, and an emergency communications plan to communicate with customers and the media on what is happening in the sector.
“In the provinces, cross border lines with Senegal are to be fast tracked to purchase up to 10MW of power from the national electricity utility in Senegal, Société National d’Éléctricité du Sénégal (SENELEC). I am happy to report here that some parts of provincial Gambia are today enjoying 24hrs of electricity as a result of these measures,” he added.