President Ernest Bai Koroma has commissioned ten megawatts diesel engine generators at the Kingtom Power Station, in order to improve the dwindling electricity power supply in Freetown.
The commissioning ceremony of the 10 Megawatts Thermal Plant took place on Tuesday 30th March 2010 in Freetown.
Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Professor Ogunlade Davidson, described the commissioning as another milestone in the journey towards the provision of adequate electricity supply to the nationís capital city of Freetown.
"The journey is long and we have just begun but with the continued commitment of government and sustained support from our development partners we will get there" the Minister assured.
He explained that the Power Plant is "Phase II of the Urgent Improvement of Electricity Power Supply System in Freetown" project, adding that Phase I of the said project, which involved the extension of transmission lines to new areas of the city, was completed and commissioned by the President in June last year. "That the entire project has been completed within tight timescales is testimony to the dedication of the Project Consultants and Contractors, ITOCHA Corporation and Dai Nippon Construction Consortium of Japan" Minister Davidson emphasized, whilst expressing appreciation to the NPA Management Team and the Board of Directors of NPA for their hard work.
Talking on challenges, the Minister said the weak capacity of the NPA transmission and distribution network, plus the fluctuating voltages and frequent power cuts, are the major challenges in the sector. "Work is ongoing on improving and strengthening the network but we recognize that our customers are getting impatient Ė an understandable reaction after years of virtually no electricity. We simply have to work harder and faster!" he said.
He said the NPA was supplying 15 to 20 megawatts of electricity to Freetown, adding that it will from henceforth increase it to 25 megawatts and above.
Speaking on behalf of the Government of Japan, Mr. Hisanobu Mochizuki revealed that the Japanese Government, in 2008, granted approximately 16 Million United States Dollars, for the upgrading of the Kingtom Power Station, including the installation of 10 megawatts diesel engine generators, under Japanís Grant Aid Scheme. "It is expected that approximately one million residents in Freetown and surrounding areas shall benefit from the project" he said, adding: "Implementation of the project will secure the capacity needed to ensure a stable supply of electric power".
He spoke lengthily on the need for maintenance, in order to achieve sustainability. "I hope that the Government of Sierra Leone will make conscious efforts to ensure proper maintenance of the facilities and equipment so that it can make the most of the Project for the longest possible term. Today is a day not to celebrate a completion of work, but a day to show determination for the maintenance of equipment provided here in Kingtom" he ended.
President Koroma, in his address, commended the Japanese Government for its support to the Government of Sierra Leone in the areas of agriculture, energy and water among others.
He entreated the NPA staff to handle the plants with utmost care. The President said: "This Plant should not be allowed to deteriorate in the manner that the plants in the main power house next door have deteriorated. This is a national asset that must be taken care of very well. It is the least that your fellow citizens can expect from you as public servants".