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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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NAWEC SPARKS CONTROVERSY OVER POWER OUTAGE NOTICE

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By Tabora Bojang

National Water and Electricity Company has come under intense criticism for coming up with a load shedding implementation roster that may interrupt the delivery of electricity to average customers in order to ensure adequate electricity supply for the OIC summit venues and accommodations.

According to the roster, customers who get electricity feeds from the Mariama Kunda feeder, Kanifing, Yarambamba, Kotu 5, Banjul and Bakoteh may be without power for up to 8 hours each day between Tuesday 30 April to Monday May 6 2024.

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Nawec said these feeders will be intermittently switched off during these periods, some from 8am to 4pm and others from 4pm to midnight to avoid power shortfalls during the summit.

In reaction, many customers ran to social media to vent their frustrations on these scheduled power cuts with many arguing the summit should not put the system under a strain if proper implementation was done.

Responding to these queries to The Standard yesterday, Nawec PR Manager Buba Badjie, said there is no cause for panic because the load shedding roster may not even be implemented if there are no “unforeseen” circumstances that may create unexpected and rapid drop in electricity supply.

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“What we have in capacity is going fine but in the event we have a drop in the supply chain, we will consider the OIC concentrated areas as priority. That is what this roster signifies. One of our transformers got burnt in Kotu last night and there was no light for a while. Also, due to the humid temperature, one of our generators was so high that we had to reduce the loads. So when certain things happen like that we will be forced to prioritise the OIC areas,” he added.

Badjie said the roster was meant to inform customers that they “may not” have electricity supply for those specific periods if capacity is strained.

He added that Nawec has not brought any new addition to its water distribution scheduling.

“What we are saying is that in the event there is a serious pipe burst or other unforeseen circumstances then there will be diversion of water to the OIC concentrated areas”, he said

Asked about the $32.5 million Nawec signed with the OIC secretariat to improve its water and electricity capacity, enhance transmission and distribution and address the problem of low voltage in the urban areas ahead of the OIC summit, Badjie said he was not privy to the total project amount, but the OIC funds given to Nawec “was effectively implemented 100 percent.”

“Yes OIC has given funds to Nawec, how much I don’t know.  But what is clear is that Nawec and OIC have worked together and have completed everything in place for both electricity and water for the successful hosting of the summit. We have partners and there is a task force to the committee led by Nawec’s deputy managing director and they are all working smoothly. All the testing is done, everything is set and all we need is to welcome the delegates peacefully but there will be no water and electricity interruptions,” he stated.

Badjie reported that Nawec has gone far in its quest to modernise services and infrastructure with a “80 percent progress.”

“Our mandate to supply electricity and water is an ongoing process. Already we have a target for universal electricity supply in 2025. We are still on track. We did not deviate and our plans are ongoing. We have the resources and we are working towards it,” he concluded.

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