Thursday, March 22, 2012

Gambians pay high price for electricity


Gambians pay one of highest price for electricity in the world, thus limiting again the access to energy for the population, European Union programme manager, Sylvain Lequere, says.

Speaking at the launching the renewable energy project at a local hotel in The Gambia on 14th March, Mr Lequere reiterated that the rate at which people in Gambians continue to pay for electricity is among the highest in the world.

Mr Lequere said the country’s energy system is currently dealing with major constraints such as ageing power plants, inefficient transmission and distribution system.
Another major constraint, he noted, is the country’s high dependence on fuel coupled with “the legal frameworks that are unfavourable to private investments”.

The consequences of these constraints have gravely resulted into low access to electricity for majority of Gambians. Only 35% of the country’s 1.8 million people have access to power, of which only 6% is for the upcountry.

“This is also limiting the development of the private sector in the country,” Mr Lequere noted.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Petroleum, Teneng Mba Jaiteh, who officially launched the energy project, said the energy situation in the country is characterised by high dependence on biomass fuels, limited access to modern energy services and unsustainable dependence on imported fossil fuel.

“Almost all of The Gambia’s modern energy service requirements are met from imported fossil-based energy sources, which is not only affecting the country’s foreign exchange reserves, thus making the country vulnerable to fluctuations in world oil prices, but it also results in the emission of greenhouse gases,” she said.

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