21 January 2013

Cameroon: Electricity Crisis - Cameroonians Want to Know


Here comes the dry season once more with its multiplicity of ill lucks! The season that ushers in dust and its accompanying illnesses.

The season that comes along with excruciating heat during the day and biting cold in the evening; the people of Ndu and Oku in the North West Region will tell the story better. The dry season makes the rivers to run dry reducing the quantity that turns the turbines in hydroelectric installations for electricity supply. In the face of all these mishaps, man has had to work hard to readjust after realising it is difficult for nature to readjust in order to suit his whims and caprices. The inability of man to readjust has incidentally brought him ill omen. That exactly is what is happening with the electricity supply system in Cameroon.

For several years now, Cameroonians have had the misfortune ot witnessing electricity cuts in the dry seasons for reasons that are insipidly linked to water shortage. Government in its goodwill gesture and having been pushed by the undesirable consequences of such shortages in water or electricity supply has hitherto taken some measure to attenuate the situation. Some of the measures are long term while others are short term. Pending the construction of multibillion hydroelectric projects such as Lom Pangar, Memv'ele, Mekin and gas fired Kribi 216 megawatt plant, authorities introduced an emergency programme wherein thermal plants were acquired and installed in Yaounde, Mbalmayo, Ebolowa and Bamenda. All the four stations have a capacity of 100 megawatts.

In effect, the putting in place of the emergency programme relieved the population of frequent cuts raising hope for a better future in electricity supply. But the situation turned sour following the grounding of all the four plants for some bizarre reason; no gas. And as nature would have it load shedding has sneaked back. This is however not a new phenomenon for Cameroonians, many of whom have been accustomed to. The real problem, so to say, is elsewhere; the complete absence of communication. AES SONEL authorities and other stakeholders have put a complete blackout to communication. The wants to know when and at what time it will be deprived of electricity. Knowing ahead of time means preparing the ground for the cuts. It means offing electric appliances before the damage is done. It means looking for other alternative sources of energy. That, in essence is where the shoe pinches most.

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