The 60-MW plant has resumed functioning and today supplies 40 MW of electricity to bridge the supply shortfall. 11:24 a.m on Thursday, June 11, 2015, the sound of machines, the emission of black smoke and the hustle and bustle of technicians at the Ahala Thermal Plant in Yaounde, Centre Region, welcomes a team of Cameroon Tribune reporters on the beat to appraise the effectiveness of the June 10, 2015 communiqué of the Minister of Water and Energy, Basile Atangana Kouna, announcing the reopening of the plant.

Why is the plant supplying only 40 MW, below its capacity? And how soon do Cameroonians expect the plant to produce in full capacity? These questions, among others, met with sealed lips as staff of Aggreko, the management company of the Ahala Thermal Plant, said they were not allowed to communicate. The plant, according to informal sources, is operational, but not on permanent basis. “The grid is turned on each time instructions are received,” sources said. It is all about demand and supply, Cameroon Tribune was told.

Aggreko’s Area General Manager for Central Africa and Madagascar, Marc Vatel, on a telephone discussion, told Cameroon Tribune that energy production is complex, with a vast network required for a plant to turn full circle. He said the amount of power produced at the Ahala Thermal Plant depends on the period. Aggreko’s Area General Manager explained that his company is in good terms with government and is working towards an agreement to better understand how to produce power in the long-term.

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The Ministry of Water and Energy has revealed that the Ministry of Public Contracts will soon pen an agreement with Aggreko on the acquisition by government of the Ahala Thermal Plant. Energy of Cameroon, ENEO, has however confirmed receiving 40 MW of energy from the Ahala Thermal Plant since June 10, 2015. The move, officials of ENEO say, has reduced the hitherto recurrent power outages that have rocked the country for weeks now. It evaluates current shortfall at 30 MW, down from 150 MW in the past weeks.

The improvement is also linked to developments at the Sanaga River where information say the water levels have risen to 675 cubic metres per day. ENEO disclosed that, “we are moving towards a stable electricity supply network.” The effective provision of 40 MW by the Ahala Thermal Plant, the acquisition and transfer of the Bamenda, Ebolowa and Mbalmayo thermal plants which are all supplying ENEO with 20, 10 and 10 MW of power, respectively, are largely changing the face of the electricity outage crises, officials say. The country’s outfit in charge of the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity is now inviting clients to call their customer services when faced with power outages.

Victorine BIY NFOR