By Gladys Fred Kole
South Sudan Minister of Energy and Dams attributes high electricity tariffs in the country to the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar.
Minister Peter Marcelo was on Tuesday responding to lawmakers queries at parliament over high electricity tariff and the continue power shading in the city.
After series of public outcry, the legislative assembly summoned the minister of Energy and Dams to throw light factors hampering reliable power supply to customers.
Electric power in Juba city is produced by Ezra Power Plant situated in Gondokoro, East of the Nile, while Juba Electricity Distribution Company (JEDCO) distributes to final consumers.
However, customers have often complained of unreliable power supply characterized by blackouts and exorbitant charges.
In response, the minister defended JEDCO on power tariffs saying currency fluctuation was responsible for the high changes.
“In 2020, the electricity per kilowatt is 0.36. It used to be 0.395 during the COVID 19 period then they (suppliers) after the minister asking them to reduce it, from 0.395 they did by 20% to 0.316 for consumers. Up to now, it never went up a penny” he explained.
The minister further said the power generating company and the suppliers demand the government should buy the power plant if the charges are to be reduced, arguing that fuel is expensive.
“As a government we didn’t put anything there everything all the equipment’s are done by Ezra as Sudd they only employ us” Marcelo conceded to defeat.
The government of South Sudan commissioned a new power plant and a $38m upgraded power distribution system for Juba on 21 November.
Local developer, Ezra Construction & Development Group, commissioned the 33MW first phase of a 100MW power plant due for completion by the end of 2021.
The project was approved by the government in August 2017 and developed on a build, own, operate, transfer basis.
Construction started in late 2017. Meanwhile the Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project was financed by African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Juba Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (JEDCO), a Private Public Partnership (PPP) company incorporating EZRA Construction & Development Group (ECGD) and the South Sudan Electricity Corporation (SSEC) was established in May 2018.
JEDCO receives electricity from the ECDG power plant, which it then distributes in Juba.
The company’s professional engineering and technician teams have been installing, operating and maintaining a wide range of distribution network installations.