By: Austine Luseni
Ministry of Energy
Water Quay, Cline Town, Freetown, Monday 22 June ,2020——— Minister of Energy, Alhaji Kanja Sesay has officially received the first shipment of wooden poles meant for the Bo-Kenema Network Rehabilitation and Expansion Project. A consignment of sixteen (16) containers with three thousand and fifty poles was received and would be transported to Bo and Kenema on Tuesday 23rd June.
Making a brief statement at the quay, Mr. Sesay said that the poles were meant for a mega energy project for the southeastern cities of Bo and Kenema, with respect to the rehabilitation and expansion of networks. The minister pointed out that the ministry was expecting the arrival of additional consignments in the next couple of weeks and months.
Mr. Sesay gave a brief background of the project, citing that they as a ministry were constrained to provide reliable and quality electricity for Bo and Kenema because of the old, poor and disheveled nature of the transmission and distribution systems which they inherited. He added that the African Development Bank, DFID and the Government of Sierra Leone were co-funding the project.
Commenting on the project, Mr Sesay assured that the whole network and distribution systems in the two cities would be overhauled, with rickety and damaged wooden poles worn out wires and transformers replaced. He also assured that the interconnection between the two cities would be done, with major towns along the highway of the two cities also benefiting from the electricity supply.
General Project Coordinator, Energy Sector Utility Reform Project, ESURP, Dr. Ing. Edmond Wuseni said that the consignment had been officially cleared and symbolically received, noting that on Tuesday the 16 fleets of containers would head for Bo and Kenema, with the minister of energy officially receiving and presenting them on Wednesday. Ing. Wuseni added that some of the poles from the eight containers meant for Bo would be displayed at the Bo Coronation Field for all to see, as a way of instilling hope and confidence in the people, while the Bo Airstrip would be used to pack the poles. The other eight containers, according to the engineer, would containerized at the Kenema Airstrip.
Ing. Wuseni went further to state that consignments would be coming in on a weekly basis, adding that four key items constitute the overall consignment for the project: some 16 thousand poles, cables, power transformers, and auxiliaries while stressing that each time the items arrived, the minister would verify to ascertain whether they fit into the contract specifications. Ing. Wuseni also stated that new areas in Bo and Kenema would have the opportunity of being connected to the grid, after which an operation involving a complete overhaul of the old network system would be undertaken.
It is worthy of note that the Bo-Kenema Network Rehabilitation and Expansion Project would see the total rehabilitation of the four feeders in Bo and the three in Kenema, and would also see the electrification of four major chiefdoms along the highway of the two cities. Even though the completion time is said to be within sixteen months , many are hoping that with the commitment and energy shown by the minister and his team, the two cities are on course to enjoy reliable electricity well ahead of that time.