poor supply of electricity in The Gambia is likely going to continue until end
of this year, the national electricity provider has said.
Nani Juwara, deputy managing director of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), said the problem of poor power supply is mainly caused by the fact that the company is operating on age-old generators that outlived their usefulness.
“Most of the generators we have are second-hand and some have been here for more than 30 years, when NAWEC was called GUC,” he said, at a press conference on Friday at the company’s head office in Kanifing.
Mr Juwara said they have no option but to continue operating and maintaining the available old generators to meet the demands of the customers, noting that’s the reason why they have decided to explain to the public why the available capacity is below the demand.
He said “the only alternative” for NAWEC at the moment is to continue operating as is with the old generators until December 2017 “when everything would have been normal and stable”. He did not elaborate on what measures are being put in place to normalise the current system after December.
“The cost for a single generator is in the millions of dollars,” NAWEC deputy MD said. “NAWEC alone cannot afford that huge amount of money.”
Juwara said the biggest generator of NAWEC is the Watsila engine which had developed “a serious mechanical problem” months back in 2016.
“But currently, we have signed with the company to have a brand new one,” he explained.
The company is also implementing another project at Kotu Power Station, funded by the Arab Bank for Economic Development and OPEC Fund for International Development.
However, Mr Juwara said the company is going through a tough time, ascribing it to what he described as a very complicated situation.
But he emphatically stated that the situation of NAWEC is inherited and the power supply situation in this country has never been 100 per cent.
On the electricity agreement with the Senegalese power supplier, the deputy MD of NAWEC said the interconnection with Senegal has a good effect as provincial areas, like Farafenni and Jarra Soma and other satellite towns and villages are enjoying 24 hours supply.
As part of the agreement, Senegal will also supply Amdalai-Barra territories up to Kerewan.
“The programme of the interconnection is a way forward for The Gambia,” he said. “Our partnership with other neighbouring countries is a way of enhancing cheaper source of electricity and much more.”