Residents of Juba say they are increasingly disturbed by the poor supply of electricity in the city.
They say the services by the Juba Electricity Distribution Corporation are expensive, unstable with constant electrical sparks and fires in the residential areas.
Recently, the electricity distribution company said about 9,990 households, 3,550 businesses, and 200 governmental institutions have been connected to the grid.
But the power-lines have caught fire in various locations on several occasions. The major roads in the city now have sporadic lights.
“The street lights are not working, the one that is along the main road near rock city hotel used to work but right now it does not provide the street light as I speak to you,” said one resident.
“When they started the lights used to work. If you get out of your house to buy something in the shop at 9 or 10 PM will feel okay because of the lights, we felt like we’re part of the developing world. But right now the streets are dark,” another resident complained.
The company said it is facing challenges due to illegal connectivity in the residential areas.
It explained that overload through illegal connectivity is the cause of electrical sparks and fires.
“Most of them are illegal connection and illegal editing of these meters or customizing of these meters which is not supposed to handle the load, but they expect it to load more than that,” the company told Eye Radio.
Despite the explanation, several residents of Juba accused the company of selective distribution and over-charging customers.
They told Eye Radio’s Sundown Program that the company demands some individual to buy poles, while others say they have never seen electricity in their areas.
“I don’t have electricity in my home because they will tell you to buy a pole which is $300 apart from hiring the crane that will erect the pole and people to dig the hole. By the end of it all, you will have spent roughly $600,” said a resident of Mauna area.
“It has been 3 weeks now since it worked in my area and yet they just launched it. There is no need for us to purchase this electricity, it is better we resort to generators and use them,” a resident of Gumbo said.
“They should stop calling it the main power supply for the city because the main power supply in the city should work 24 hours a day,” he continued.
The Juba Electricity Distribution Corporation had said about 20,000 households, businesses, and institutions will get electricity by the end of 2020 from the 33 megawatts, Power Plant.
But some traders in Juba say the fluctuation in the power supply is already disrupting their businesses.
They demand that the Juba City Council ensure there are security lights in business quarters.
“Streets lights are security, they help in securing our business premises. The power is expensive, in my shop we pay SSP 20,000 per day,” a seemingly angry trader said.
“If I work with my generator is better than using JEDCo power.”
“The government or the leaders of the [Juba] City Council should come out and tell us what is happening with the streets light,” another trader pleaded.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Juba Electricity Distribution Corporation, Binyam Mihretab insists that illegal connectivity is causing power fluctuation and affecting the distribution of electricity.
“This meter is not designed to handle such a load. So the proper procedure should be, I am using this power but my rate is over or I might not know. We will do the assessment and change with meter with the proper load whereby that customer can use the proper load and proper procedure will be followed,” he said.
Last year, President Kiir announced that South Sudan shall be connected to a 400 KV line interconnecting Karuma in Uganda and Juba by 2023.
He said the country will also develop its hydropower resources –mainly in Fulla, near Nimule.
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Published Thursday, July 2, 2020
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