According to the energy minister on Friday, Turkey’s Karpowership turned off the electricity supply to Sierra Leone’s main city of Freetown because the company owed the company a debt of almost $40 million.
The unpaid balance “was accrued over time because the government subsidises more than half the cost the ship charges per kilowatt hour,” Minister Kanja Sesay told Reuters.
He said that since it pays the electricity supplier in the weak native Leone currency, one of the poorest performing against the dollar, and charges users in the same currency, the government has to spend more on the subsidies.
A government panel has been established to investigate potential price increases in consumer power rates.
As a member of the Karadeniz Energy Group and one of the leading operators of floating power plants worldwide, Karpowership secured agreements in 2018 and 2020 to provide energy to Sierra Leone’s national power company.
Similar agreements were signed by the corporation with numerous electricity-short African nations.
Karpowership was unavailable for comment.
According to the company’s website, it has delivered 80% of Sierra Leone’s electrical demands since 2020 after deploying 65 megawatts of power-producing capacity there.
According to Sesay, Karpowership’s switch-off lowered the amount of energy delivered to the capital by 13%. Families and businesses increasingly experience regular power outages lasting several hours in the capital.
In addition to the country’s hydro dam and power from an interconnection with Ivory Coast, which also serves Guinea and Liberia, Karpower is one of the city’s three energy sources.
According to Sesay, the demand for Karpower supply is greatest during the dry season when the dam’s water levels are low. During the wet season, dependence on the company declines. The nation is in the middle of its May to November rainy season.