(Business in Cameroon) - On January 20, Minister of Water and Energy Gaston Eloundou Essomba sent a letter to some cement producers and companies located in the industrial areas of Douala, Moungo, the South-West, and the West calling for their contributions toward improved quality of electricity supply during the African Cup of Nations Cameroon is currently hosting.
"(...) You are invited to elaborate an action plan with electric utility ENEO with the sole objective of avoiding power outages in households during the event,” the government official wrote.
For sources in the electricity sector, in the letter, the official is asking companies to reduce their electricity consumption, and therefore their production, to avoid outages all through the competition.
"This is what [the companies] have been doing since the beginning of the African Cup of Nations. The Minister [of Water and Energy] has simply formalized what is already being done,” said a source close to the case. Nevertheless, the letter sent on January 20 does not seem to have been guided simply by the desire to officially invite companies to reduce their energy consumption. Some people consider the letter more like an invite for companies to make further efforts to reduce their consumption after the failure of the installation of some equipment at the Logbaba interconnection station on January 15, 2022.
Indeed, on January 13, 2022, the National Electricity Transport Company (Sonatrel) announced works to improve the supply of "electricity in the South interconnected network, in general, and the Littoral, South-West, West, and North-West, in particular," in this period of "strong rise in the loads due to the African Cup of Nations.”
According to authorized sources, the works supposed to improve electricity supply and reduce the rationing constraint imposed on companies were not successful.
"That Sonatrel equipment must be installed because, after the African Cup of Nations, the situation could become even more complicated. Currently, 80% of the outages experienced by households are due to problems on the transport network,” our source says.
As if to confirm those fears, on January 23, 2022, despite the invitation for companies to reduce their electricity consumption, several households in Yaoundé were unable to watch the match between Nigeria and Tunisia on TV because of a power outage that lasted several hours.
Brice R. Mbodiam