Thursday, April 24, 2014

Activist Protests AES-Sonel Plans To Increase Price Of Electricity

(NewsWatch Cameroon)--An activist Delor Magellan Kamseu Kamgaing, president of the Cameroon Consumers League, has gone on an endless hunger strike to protest an imminent increase in the price per kilowatt of electricity consumed in Cameroon.
Kamgaing on day-1 of his hunger strike
Government-run Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency (ARSEL) has confirmed that a call for the price hike by the country’s sole electricity provider, AES-SONEL, will be examined soon.
ARSEL boss Jean Pierre Kédi, in an interview with local French daily Le Quotidien de L’Economie last week, said the price hike from CFA 50 F to CFA 70 F per kilowatt will allow for better maintenance of the country’s power grid and bring in new investments in the power supply sector.
An initial petition by Cameroon Consumers League (CCL) leader Kamgaing failed to cause Prime Minister Philemon Yang not to give a nod to the plan last week.
He says it is unfair and contemptuous to increase the price of such a basic necessity in a nation where crippling energy deficits have been bogging down economic growth.
Kamgaing began his hunger strike Monday April 21, 2014 in front of ARSEL headquarters in Yaoundé where he had declared he and the civil society organization he leads were against such a move during a meeting with the agency’s officials recently.
“Am ready to sacrifice my body and my soul for the Cameroonian cause; to go right till the end until government gives an unfavourable reply to AES-SONEL’s request,” he has said.
88 per cent of Cameroon’s 1,000 megawatt electricity generation capacity is hydroelectric.
This heavy reliance on hydropower led authorities in 2011 to launch an Urgent Thermal Programme which they said would triple national power supply by 2020.
On third day (Photo from Armand Ougock, Facebook)
Since then two new gas power stations in Kribi in the South region and Logbaba in the Littoral region have not been able to adequately salvage the power insufficiency.
Cameroon possesses an estimated 500,000 megawatt of hydroelectric potential which could make the country a net electricity exporter in the future if successfully developed.

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