Sierra Leone‘s capital, Freetown, was hit by a power outage after Turkey’s Karpowership turn off electricity supplies due to unpaid bills of around $40 million or more than IDR 613 billion, Friday, September 8 2023. Sierra Leonne’s Energy Minister, Kanja Sesay, told Reuters that the amount owed to Turkey “continues to grow over time because the government subsidizes more than half of what ships charge per kilowatt hour”.
He said the government had to spend more on subsidies because they charge consumers in the local currency Leone. Which is one of the worst performing currencies against the dollar. While payments were made in dollar.
A government commission has been set up to review consumer electricity .
Karpowership, one of the world’s largest floating power plant operators and part of the Karadeniz Energy Group, signed deals in 2018 and 2020 to provide electricity to Sierra Leone’s state utility company.
The company has made similar agreements with several African countries that are struggling with electricity supplies.
The company says on its website that it has deployed about 65 megawatts of power generation capacity to Sierra Leone since 2020 and has supplied 80% of its total electricity needs.
Sesay said the power outage by Karpowership had reduced electricity supply to the capital by 13%. Electricity is now ration in the capital, leaving homes and businesses without power for hours every day.
Karpower is one of three sources of electricity to the city – the other two include the country’s hydro dams. And electricity from an interconnection with Ivory Coast that also supplies Guinea and Liberia. Sesay said Karpower supplies are mostly need in the dry season when water levels in the dam are low. Dependence on companies decreases during the rainy season. Sierra Leone is currently at the peak of the rainy season, from May to November.