By Halimatou Ceesay
The National Water and Electricity Company NAWEC 9 megawatts engine sponsored by World Bank to the tune of 2.1million euros is currently under installation at Brikama Power Station.
Speaking to reporters at his office in NAWEC Headquarters, Westfield the Public Relation officer Pierre Sylva has said that if the two power stations (Kotu and Brikama) are put together would not be enough to supply electricity in the greater Banjul area for 24 hours.
Pierre Sylva said the Watsila engine arrived at the ports this month and they evacuate it from the ports last Friday to Brikama Power Station.
“It is a World Bank sponsored project and the entire project is about 2.1 Million euros so we do anticipate that the contractors will start work immediately and by next week they will installed the engine and then in three weeks’ time according to our timeline they would be ready, and would be available for commercial operations as well,” he said.
Sylva said the G6 engine at Kotu Power station is not a new engine as it has been there since 1989 and it is the biggest engine so far among the engines operating. He said week before last it has some technical faults which the engineer has identified and they got some parts from Senegal and maintenance has already taken place and is completed and operating now.
“Well we have been suffering from electricity instability in the greater Banjul area and when we started this sensitization to tell the people that definitely we are going through some trying times we gave them some timelines as to when we are going to stabilized. I think along the line in the past one or two months we have made some improvements in electricity in the greater Banjul area. This is simply because the World Bank came with other international financial institutions for assistance,” he said.
Sylva further stated that “It is true that we still don’t have 20 to 24hrs electricity supply but I think what we have been saying is when the two power stations are put together calculatedly the megawatts that we have from this two power stations is not enough especially in the evening when people are at home and they need electricity that is the time that we have a problem of satisfying everybody. Because these engines are also make in such a way that we don’t force them, we don’t give them the load they cannot accommodate, when we do that they trip off and create a lot of problems because when they have some problems they would demand a lot of financial issues on the company to be able to bring them back,” he explained.
He further stated that they are also mindful of that. He said the megawatts that they need to be able to give everybody electricity at the same point in time is 70 megawatts but they are having something like 45 megawatts so there is a deficit of 20 to 25 megawatts that they don’t have at the moment so this is why sometimes in some areas there will be electricity for certain period of time and another area will be off.
He said “the problem here is that we have certain areas that we called public institutions. They are social institutions that we don’t knock out of electricity like Hospitals, Security installations, street lights and boreholes. Those are the ones that we will not shut down because everyone in this country need those services to be able to go along. So when we give them the services then the remaining from what we have from the two power stations is what we try to give to people and it is not enough unless and until the projects are completed.
What we are doing according to the road map that we developed together with the ministry of energy and the Government of the Gambia is to take an emergency sort of approach towards stabilizing for the meantime until we are able to embark on certain project to make a definitive stop to this instability that we are having in the system. So what we embarked on during this period is those engines that have been here for a long time, they are old though, we tried to carry some maintenance to make them up and running in the meantime to stabilize the situation until the new projects that we have started are completed.”