Guinea-Bissau Capital Without Power Over Unpaid Bill | General News

Guinea-Bissau Capital Without Power Over Unpaid Bill | General News

A Turkish firm has cut power supplies to Guinea-Bissau’s capital over an unpaid bill of at least $15m (£12m), plunging the city into darkness.

It has severely disrupted daily life, with even radio stations off-air.

Economy Minister Suleimane Seidi acknowledged the arrears, saying most of the bill would be paid in 15 days.

Karpowership is one of the world’s biggest floating power plant operators, with several African states relying on it for electricity.

But it has taken a tough line over non-payment. Last month, it cut power to Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, over an unpaid bill of $40m.

The Turkish company has also signed a deal to supply power to South Africa, saying it will cover more than 5% of the country’s total electricity needs.

South Africa has been hit by a wave of power cuts with people going without electricity for up to 10 hours a day.

Power was cut in Bissau, a city with a population of more than 400,000, in the early hours of Tuesday and has not been restored, a resident told the BBC.

Some public hospitals are now using generators to carry out surgery, local journalist Assana Sambu told the BBC.

State-run Rádio Nacional is among media outlets that have stopped broadcasting, while the private radio station where he works is only partially operating, he added.

Karpowership says it has been supplying 100% of Guinea-Bissau’s electricity since signing a five-year agreement with the state-owned electricity and water utility company in 2019.

The country is one of the poorest in the world and has been beset by instability since independence.

“Unfortunately, following a protracted period of non-payment, our [floating power plant] is now unable to continue operating,” a Karpowership spokesperson was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying.

“We are working around the clock with officials to resolve this issue and we aim to have generation back online as soon as possible,” the spokesperson added.

Following the switch-off, Mr Seidi said that the company had “agreed to renegotiate with the government” to ensure that electricity supplies resumed.

Karpowership also supplies electricity to six other African countries – Ghana, The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

The company prides itself as “the owner, operator and builder of the world’s only Powership (floating power plant)”.

Its involvement in the electricity sector is the latest example of Tukey’s growing influence in Africa.

Although access to electricity has increased in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, it still remains low, with more than 50% of the region’s population having no grid connection, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).

Source: BBC



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