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Sierra Leone News: 30,000 households in Freetown will benefit from JICA electricity

Residents of Freetown suffer immeasurable discomfort and stress because of the lack of power. Only 23% of the 1.5 million people living in Freetown have access to electricity, as of 2008. According to a recent Power Africa fact sheet, Sierra Leone’s national electrification rate of 5% (estimated at 11% in urban areas and less than 1% in rural areas) reflects the country’s limited transmission and distribution network.
After commencement of the operation of Bumbuna Hydro Power Station, the electricity supply in Freetown was improved; however, the hydro power station has challenges during the dry season. Also, the old, damaged transmission and distribution lines caused a lot of electricity losses on the way before reaching households.
Therefore, in 2010, the Government of Japan donated a 17.5 megawatt diesel generator for Kingtom Power Station, constructed the Regent Primary Substation and necessary distribution lines to reinforce the supply system in Freetown.
Over 30,000 households are currently benefiting from a newly handed-over facilities and equipment by Government of Japan through Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) to enable the population in the peninsular area; from Wilberforce, Goderich to Sussex, to enjoy quality electricity supply from EDSA at a reasonable cost.
The Vice President, Victor Bockarie Foh, while commissioning a 15 MVA 33/11KVP Primary Substation in Goderich, said, the JICA energy project marked another milestone in government’s untiring efforts to improving access to dependable electricity in Sierra Leone and the Western Area.
Vice President Foh spoke on Friday 23 February 2018 at the commissioning ceremony of the 15 MVA, 33/11KV transmission line from Wilberforce to Goderich and the Primary Substations at Goderich.
He said when the government of President Koroma came to power in 2007, Sierra Leone was engulfed by darkness earning our capital city, Freetown, the notoriety of being the darkest city on earth.
He informed the audience that from 5 megawatts in Freetown electricity supply has grown.
He commended the Japanese Government for having stood with Sierra Leone during bad times and in good times. He referred to the Japanese as “dear friends of the country”.
He informed the audience that the Goderich’s 15MVA 33/11KVP Primary Substation was made possible with funds provided by the Government of Japan through the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA). This project, he stated, is designed to help the country improve on power service delivery in Freetown and its environs.
The Ambasador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia, H.E. Tustomu Himeno, said the energy project is part of the Japanese Government commitment and determination to help Sierra Leone recover from the deadly Ebola virus and mudslide.
He called on the government to make good use of the project so that the people can benefit from electricity to improve on their livelihoods.
Hirofumi Hoshi, the Chief Representative, JICA Ghana office (overseeing JICA Sierra Leone) gave a brief overview of the project and its benefits to the people and also spoke about the capacity building program for Sierra Leoneans in Japan for repairs of the machines and transmission lines.
Hirofumi Hoshi said the project is worth 1.6 billion JPYen an (equivalent to $15 million USD) for the construction of Goderich Primary Substation, additional equipment for Wilberforce Substation, construction of distribution lines from Wilberforce Substation to Goderich Substation (5.8km), construction of distribution lines for Babadori Area to Sussex and construction of Secondary Substations.
Henry Macauley, the Minister of Energy, applauded JICA for complementing government efforts in improvement of energy generation and distribution to households.
The commissioning ceremony was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux.
Mariatu Kamara, a restaurant owner at Goderich, expressed her gratitude and appreciation to JICA and the government for improving on electricity supply in the area. She says her business is gradually growing as she sells cold water and drinks and she is now able to make a steady income to pay for school fees, rent, medical bills and other expenditures.
SB/24/2/18
By Saidu Bah
Monday February 26, 2018.

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