By Mabinty M. Kamara (politicosl.com)…..
An official of the long awaited West Africa Power Pool Project (WAPP) has told Politico that the project is currently at its commissioning and energization stage of the lines which are currently in Liberia, a neighboring Mano Rover Union (MRU) country.
This, according to the project engineer in charge , Paul Charles Saffa, means that they have already started supplying energy to the substations in some parts of Cote’d’Ivore and that they are now moving to Liberia. Work he said is expected to reach Sierra Leone through Kenema in July of this 2021.
Engineer Saffa said the project installation and energization could not reach Sierra Leone at the last expected 40 days timeline which was announced because he said they had problems with installations while working in Cote’ d’Ivore because of a default factory error.
“The thing about commissioning is that it’s the last stage from which you give green wave to the project. So you don’t want a situation wherein you jump over any safety protocol. So any safety protocol that did not pass the test, we have to do everything over and again until we are 100% certain for reliability and stability because we don’t want a system and after five days, it shuts down, no we don’t want that. The commissioning is a very painstaking job. So that delayed us a bit,” he said.
He noted that this, coupled with the fact that most of the international experts they had contracted from India and China resigned from the contract for fear of travel during the current COVID pandemic that still ravages some parts of the world,also negatively impacted the project’s initial completion date which a has resulted he said in them now having to start looking for experts in the field from West Africa to do the job.
He said the line is 1,500 Kilometer long and that by the time it reaches in Sierra Leone, they will be in Kenema which means that power will be available at the Kenema substation making Bo and Kenema to be powered.
“Kenema to Kono and Bumbuna will take another one month which will be in August which means in August ending, Kono substation and its environs would have been powered. So from the substation to Bumbuna is another one month which means that in September, we would send power to Freetown from Bumbuna or to Makeni or Magburaka and all the areas connected to the Bumbuna line. So that’s our new timeline because of the prevailing circumstances that we have,” he said.
He assured that the project will match up to this new timeline because he said it’s now in its completion stage meaning they have learnt several lessons and passed almost all the hurdles.
The project is aimed at providing electricity to the four MRU countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’ Ivore and Guinea. When completed, it will bring reliable and affordable electricity to the country which had perennial problems with electricity, especially outside the capitals.