12 November 2012

Gambia: Developing Story Why the Power Outages At NAWEC?

Following repeated complaints lodged to Foroyaa from NAWEC Customers from all works of life with regard to what appears to be permanent power outages in the country, which they said is increasing their over head costs thus reducing their income, this reporter contacted the Public Relation Officer of NAWEC Pierre Sylva on the issue. This reporter was asked to write a Letter to the Managing Director and Foroyaa promised to do so for the interest of the public.

However, this reporter decided to do an independent investigation before meeting the NAWEC personnel. Information gathered by this reporter has it that NAWEC's main power generating house is still the Kotu Power Station supported by a number power stations in the major provincial towns, and Independent Power Producer (IPP) at Brikama.

According to the information, the current install capacity at Kotu Power Station is about 41.4 MW with a maximum available capacity of 35 MW at peak load and that all the Engines are thermal plant operating on Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).

However, in 2010/2011, the information went on to say that a new 9MW Wasilla Engine was installed by NAWEC at Brikama in the premises of the IPP, this engine also runs on Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).

The IPP in Brikama has a total install capacity of about 25.6 MW with a maximum available capacity of 16.5 MW at peak load. Engines in this power station also run on Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO).

For the provincial operations, the findings of this reporter reveal that there are stand alone power stations in the major provincial towns, running on Light Fuel Oil (LFO), which is diesel and that the total install capacity of all these stations is 5710 kWh with a total maximum available capacity of 5310 kWh, 16.5 MW at peak load.

As stated above, both of NAWEC's operations in the GBA and Provinces as well as the IPP in Brikama are on fossil fuel (HFO and LFO). According to sources the price of fuel is very volatile now-a-days and in most cases keeps on increasing, and this constitutes over 70% of NAWEC's operational cost.

The information went on to assert that the total available capacity from both the IPP and NAWEC's generations at Kotu and the Provinces does not match the estimated required demand for Electricity.

Several studies that were carried out sometime ago, such as the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Master plan study which estimates that by 2011 the estimated electricity demand in the Gambia would be above 600GWh, while the current production is a little bit above 230GWh. This shows that only one-third of the estimated demand is being met by both NAWEC and the IPP.

Is this the cause of the power outage? Investigation continues!

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