By Kini Nsom
Following the audit of the equipment and assets AES SONEL took over from SONEL in 2001, the Minister of Water and Energy, Jean Bernard Sindeu, has lauded the electricity company for maintaining the assets.
The Minister made the appreciation in Yaounde on August 8, as stakeholders examined a report on the inventory and audit of the assets. He said the audit of the assets that was carried out by a Canadian firm, Roche/Regie Incorporated, will help stakeholders to make analysis to further develop the electricity sector.
To him, the audit will not only help the authorities to determine the new prices, but also enable them to plot short and long term plans for electricity development.Despite some daunting odds, the Minister said AES SONEL has hearkened to the terms of its concession agreement with government.
He said the company has not only improved on the assets but also done some investment on the equipment. According to the Minister, the Electricity Regulatory Agency, ARSEL, and AES SONEL did the audit in a parallel manner so as to achieve better results "When AES SONEL took over SONEL in 2001, its equipment and assets were in a dilapidating state.
Now everything is working well," said the Director of Economic Control in ARSEL, Jean Piere Mpina.Enumerating a list of the assets they examined in the field, he stated that there are three hydroelectricity reservoirs, namely Lagdo, Edea, Songloulou, three artificial dams, Mape, Bamendjin and Mbakao, 24 very high tension, high tension, and medium tension centers, 43 thermal plants, 48 medium tension redistribution centers and 7600 transformers. All the assets the stakeholders audited stood at a total of 31000 items.
The evaluation of the assets that began in November 2005 and ended in June 2008, was carried out in tandem with the agreement the Cameroon government signed with AES SONEL on July 18, 2001.
Participants at last Friday's seminar at the Yaounde Hilton hotel examined the whole gamut of the evaluation reports.Thus they were charged to examine the report of the first audit carried out in February 2007, the second executed in October 2007 and June 2008.
As the authorities concerned examined the audit, AES SONEL officials held that they have not only kept what they took over from government in good technical state, but done quite much to improve the electricity sector in Cameroon.
They said they envisaged a FCFA 500 billion investment plan from 2001 to 2011 to boast the production of energy.The company has installed a generation capacity of 933 MW, including 721 MW of hydro capacity and 212 MW of thermal capacity. This includes 24 MW of isolated capacity.
The transmission network comprises 480 km of 225 kV lines, 337 km of 110 kV lines and 1064 km of 90 kV lines, plus 24 substations.Perhaps these are the developments that motivated ARSEL General Manager, Douga Hell, to hail AES SONEL as government's strategic partner in the development of the electricity sector.
He said ARSEL is not only out for regulation, but also determined to ensure growth in the
electricity sector.Despite these developments, electricity consumers still complain of very high bills and frequent power cuts in some areas.
Thus, electricity is still too expensive for the average Cameroonian. But AES SONEL says it will be difficult for them to cut down prices given that the cost of producing electricity has continued to sky-rocket.