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Electric Power Blacks Out in Yei Town

YECO signpost as it stands along the Yei – Lasu Road | Courtesy Photo

Author: Bida Thomas

Yei Electric Cooperative (YECO) has stopped the distribution of power in Yei town less than a month after it resumed electricity supply for only seven hours daily at the rate of five hundred (500) South Sudanese Pounds per Kilowatt hour (kWh) on Monday, 10th May this year.

Yei residents say they are unhappy with the power black out which will affect their businesses and security related incidents especially during night hours.

“There has been a power cut since 20th May this year affecting our daily routine including some business,” laments a Yei resident.

Chairperson of a committee formed to look into the operations and existing structure of the Yei Electric Cooperative (YECO), Alfati Morgan told Juba Echo via phone on Wednesday, the institution, YECO, has numerous challenges ranging from management, partnerships and relationships with clients.

“YECO’s problem is big. First, there is no proper management, no agreement with partners and a lot of fraud in its operations,” Alfati Morgan said.

“We have concluded our committee’s work and will submit it to the commissioner anytime from now. We have made recommendations including strengthening the administrative capacity of YECO and acquiring a better billing system,” he added

What has led to the black out?

The power black out has been attributed to a lack of commitment from consumers to pay their electricity bill. 

“Many people including several government offices do not want to clear their monthly bills this is because YECO charges unrealistic tariffs of usually up to 30,000 SSP for people paid less than 5,000 SSP monthly,” Alfati Morgan told Juba Echo 

Corruption and Confiscation of YECO property:

Reliable sources have also told Juba Echo that a Yei based “Red Sea Petrol Station” impounded vehicles of the Yei Electric Cooperative because they could not pay for fuel they had been taking on credit basis.

The management of YECO has also been accused of exploiting clients by charging SSP 500 per kWh (more than $ 1). Some of its foreign staff including a Kenyan and a Sudanese are reported to have run away with the company’s money for operations.

Establishment of YECO

YECO was built through the South Sudan Rural Electrification Project by NRECA International started as the design and construction of a small generation-distribution utility in the town of Yei with funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2005

YECO evolved into a self-sustaining municipal electric cooperative serving approximately 1,200 consumers.

NRECA’s plan for mini hydropower:

Financed by the Norwegian government, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) International also defined an investment plan and designed a preliminary hydropower distribution system for the power utility in Juba as well as for potential mini hydropower plants near Maridi and Yei.

However, in July 2016, due to civil unrest and armed conflict in South Sudan, NRECA International evacuated its last employee from Yei until further notice.

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