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Firm threatens to cut South Sudan power supply over unpaid bills

Tuesday January 12 2021
Electricity.

South Sudan power company to halt distribution of electricity over unpaid dues. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By GARANG A. MALAK

Juba,

South Sudan’s electricity distributing company has said it will halt power supply if the government does not clear its arrears before Tuesday.

In a press statement seen by The EastAfrican on Monday, Juba Electricity Distribution Company (JEDCO) said it is unable to run its activities due to the unpaid bills.

“Despite extensive efforts by all stakeholders to prevent this unfortunate action, no workable solutions have been agreed upon on time. The government has not provided the foreign currency required to make overdue payments,” it said.

The company urged stakeholders to resolve the problem immediately in order for it to resume services and to also pay its power supplier, Ezra Construction and Development Group, which it has been unable to pay.

Efforts to get comment from South Sudan’s Ministry of Energy and Dams were not unsuccessful as our phone calls and text messages went unanswered.

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In November 2019, South Sudan launched its first electricity power plant with the aim of serving 100,000 households in the first phase of the electricity supply project. The country hopes to produce 100 megawatts of new power by the end of 2021, projected to serve more than 300,000 households.

According to the agreement, Ezra Group said it would provide $290 million to put in place the 100 megawatts of new fossil fuel electricity production over the next few years.

South Sudan's government was expected to pay back the investment over 17 years.

South Sudan does not have a legal framework for its electricity sector as the National Electricity Bill, tabled in parliament, has not been passed.

During the 2019 launch of the plant, President Salva Kiir said it was a milestone towards achieving the dream of greater development for the nation.

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