28 November 2012

Gambia: Brikama Residents Complain Lack of Electricity Is Nawec Supplying One Section At the Expense of Others?

Information reaching this paper across Brikama town has it that the residents of the said town in Kombo Central are experiencing electricity shortage and are alleging discriminatory and unfair treatment since the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) is supplying one section with electricity while depriving the other parts of the town.

"We are experiencing power outage for the past two months but one particular section is continuously having electricity", asserted Alagie Malick Foon, resident of Brikama.

Mr. Foon said he has worked for the company for more than thirty years. He said he reported the matter to the branch office in Brikama. He revealed that the person in charge said he was given directives from above to constantly supply the Brikama Town Sub-Station (BTS) transformer. He said the official has refused to disclose the person who gave the directives.

The veteran GUC(NAWEC) employee said he was told the reason for this was that the police station and health centre are connected to the (BTS) transformer. He dismissed the excuse given by the official. He argued that the police station and health centre have a special socket which has nothing to do with the line of other consumers.

"We all know that the pumping station socket is ever since connected to the police station and health centre. But it is not fair to switch off all the sub-stations while supplying the others ", he pointed out.

Mr. Foon argued that the technicians have a choice of isolating the police station and health centre sockets without anyone objecting to priority given to essential users. He complained of segregation in the distribution of electricity which he said should stop. He said he further reported the matter to the headquarters and the Public Utility and Regulatory Authority (PURA) since small businesses are collapsing in the deprived areas while customers shift to the privileged areas to seek for services requiring electricity such as milling.

"The inconsistent supply of electricity is seriously affecting our work", said FMB radio management.

The management and staff of the community radio complained of their experience on the frequent interruption of electricity supply. They complained that their generator consumes large quantity of fuel. They plead for NAWEC to link their line to the police station and health centre sockets because it is a community radio as they depend on adverts.

"The problem of electricity has affected our business. Imagine we would sit for the whole day without doing anything", asserted Mr. Pa Fatty, sawmill owner.

Mrs. Mariama Jallow, a local consumer also complained about her ordeal. She said she used to sell cold water to provide lunch and school fees for her children. She said it is not fair to deny them electricity while their neighbours are enjoying uninterrupted supply.

The officials of the NAWEC branch office in Brikama were contacted. Mr. George Sambou, the person in charge of electricity supply has confirmed the story. He admitted that many people came to his office to complain about the problem. He repeated the same thing to this reporter that the directives came from above.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pierre Sylva, the Public Relation Officer of NAWEC was contacted. He referred this reporter to the office of the Managing Director of the company. He asked this reporter to formally write a request for an interview.

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