Sierra Leone Plunged into Darkness as Power Suppliers Suspend Services Over Unpaid Bills

Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, along with other cities, has been grappling with prolonged power outages, severely disrupting daily life and essential services. The situation worsened as Karpowership, the Turkish vessel responsible for supplying most of Freetown’s electricity, virtually switched off the lights due to an unpaid bill of about $48 million (£38 million).

Despite assurances from the finance minister to settle the debt, Karpowership reduced electricity supply to only six megawatts, down from the usual 60 megawatts, limiting power to essential services. This abrupt reduction in power supply has significantly impacted operations in major hospitals and disrupted daily activities across the affected areas.

In addition to Karpowership’s action, CLSG, an Ivorian power supplier, has also scaled back its services to the southeastern cities of Bo, Kenema, and Koidu due to unpaid arrears. CLSG reduced its supply from 32 megawatts to 10, further exacerbating the electricity crisis in the region.

The exact amount owed to CLSG by the state remains unclear, highlighting the financial challenges facing Sierra Leone’s energy sector. The suspension of power services by both Karpowership and CLSG underscores the urgent need for the government to address the outstanding debts and find sustainable solutions to ensure uninterrupted electricity supply for its citizens.

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