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Cameroon Grapples with Energy Crisis and Social Unrest Threat

In both Yaoundé and Douala, as well as across the entire country, Cameroonians endure the challenges of frequent power cuts, known as « load shedding. » In major cities, these outages can extend for four to six hours, while rural areas may experience prolonged periods of darkness. The impacts are widespread, affecting people’s daily lives, property, and finances. Households and businesses resort to makeshift solutions such as rechargeable bulbs, candles, hurricane lamps, and generators to cope with the unreliable electricity supply. However, these measures often fall short of preventing inconveniences. Concerned about the potential for social unrest arising from persistent power interruptions, the Cameroonian government has issued a warning to Eneo, the exclusive distributor of electrical energy in the country. In a letter dated February 9, 2024, the Minister of Water and Energy, Gaston Eloundou Essomba, emphasizes the responsibility of Eneo in preventing social upheaval caused by frequent load shedding.

To address the current crisis, particularly in the South Interconnected Network covering six out of ten regions, Eneo is mandated to maximize the use of thermal power plants. The goal is to alleviate the electricity deficit until the injection of 60 MW from the Nachtigal dam on February 24, 2024. The minister also directs Eneo to optimize hydroelectric power stations and coordinate with energy-intensive companies, which may be required to reduce their usage at specific times, impacting their production. In response, Eneo, in a communication dated February 14, 2024, has initiated the mobilization of thermal power plants, albeit incurring significant additional costs for fuel procurement. The financial burden, totaling 18 billion FCFA, becomes essential to sustain the thermal power plant operations for the next two months and maintain the stability of the electricity supply across seven of the ten regions in Cameroon served by Eneo’s South Interconnected Network.

Sandrine N

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