By Tata Mbunwe
The Energy of Cameroon, ENEO, handling electricity supply in Cameroon has failed to keep its promise of ensuring there are no blackouts during the ongoing TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON.
Contrary to that promise, power cuts have persisted in parts of Cameroon, including some host cities. Power outages resurfaced in Buea, Southwest regional headquarters, last week, with some neighbourhoods without electricity even on Sunday when AFCON matches were being played.
In Buea, the neighbourhoods of Bomaka, Muea, Mile 16 and Mile 18, which had been prone to power cuts prior to AFCON, witnessed a total blackout on Sunday evening, adding to frequent power cuts within last week.
A Bomaka resident who spoke to MMI said they have not had stable electricity supply since AFCON started. Our respondent said, it is hard for citizens to predict when there will or will not be electricity, as supply has remained intermittent.
“ Electricity came about 30 minutes ago, just blinked and it went back… It’s almost getting to a week now – it just comes and stays for some hours and goes back,” he told MMI.
In Muea, residents say they could not watch the game between Nigeria and Tunisia which started 8pm on Sunday because of blackout.
On Sunday, Jan. 23, Cameroon’s lone power supplier, ENEO, announced that there were “constraints” on its electrical system which disrupted power supply in some cities including Douala and Yaounde.
The situation has however not just ended in Yaounde and Douala, but also extended to Buea, where electricity supply has been unstable.
The company had announced on January 5 that its technicians were mobilized and “will be responsible in particular for ensuring the rapid restoration of power to the stadiums in the event of failure of their main supply provided by stakeholders other than ENEO”.
Although the company might have honoured its word in maintaining stable electricity at the six stadiums hosting AFCON matches, there is however little assurance for villages, towns and cities where electricity supply has not been stable.
In December 2021, the company ENEO had expressed hope for stable electricity in Cameroon after the government committed to paying FCFA 182 billion debt it owed the company.
After the pledged by the government, ENEO said the main issues plaguing the electricity sector in Cameroon “will be settled by the end of 2022”.
Many Cameroonians, who are living the reality of power supply, are still waiting to see how realistic the promise will be by the end of this year.