Electricity distribution in Cameroon has been epileptic since the end of the Africa Cup of Nations Tournament hosted in the country.
After a month of almost constant power, several towns in Cameroon now experience a serious fall in the regular supply of power.
Some rural areas in the country even go for days without electricity. Insights from the electricity distribution company in Cameroon say it has been caused by several maintenance works being carried out at the same time.
“The entire power system (the production, transport, and distribution segments) is constrained. This creates energy deficits that are accentuated by two main factors: grid saturation and the decrease in some power plants’ generation capacities either because of maintenance, fuel supply constraints, or low water levels,” revealed a source.
The Memve’ele hydroelectric dam, which usually generated at least 90 Megawatts(MW) of electricity out of its 211MW capacity also experienced a fall in water level, contributing to the current situation.
The dam currently generates just 35MW of electricity, as it has been highly hampered by fallen water levels experienced this dry season. Experts say the energy generated by the dam will only rise by mid-March when the rainy season is expected to start.
Furthermore, credible sources have also revealed that the Kribi gas-fired power plant, capable of producing 216MW of energy, currently produces just 160MW because of maintenance works.
This is so because the state had ordered a reduction in the industrial supply of electricity, to supply households during the AFCON.
The state had also prohibited heavy maintenance works to be carried out during that period, eventually forcing these industrial users to concentrate on their works with the end of the Africa Cup of Nations, hence the shortage.
“Operators are now catching up with their annual maintenance targets given that the foreign contractors in charge of the works were not available at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic,” explained a source close to the electricity distribution company.
In remedying this, the National Electricity Company (SONATREL) is said to have bought 20 transformers. However, unsuccessful attempts to install these transformers may force them to return to the supplier after discovering manufacturing defects.