Turkish firm restores power to Bissau after part of arrears paid

BISSAU (Reuters) – Power returned to Guinea-Bissau’s capital on Wednesday afternoon after the West African country’s government resumed payments to Turkish company Karpowership, which had plunged the city into darkness due to an unpaid debt of $17 million.

Karpowership said it cut off electricity supplies to Guinea-Bissau for 1.5 days after fuel suppliers paused work following a protracted period of non-payment.

Economy Minister Suleimane Seidi told reporters on Wednesday that $6 million out of $15 million of arrears owed by the Electricity and Water Company of Guinea-Bissau were paid.

“We are grateful for the government’s efforts to resolve the fuel payments which have allowed for us to restart operations swiftly and continue providing the people of Guinea-Bissau with electricity,” Karpowership’s spokesperson said in a statement.

Karpowership, one of the world’s largest operators of floating power plants and part of the Karadeniz Energy Group, has been supplying 100% of Guinea-Bissau’s electricity needs since signing a deal in 2019, according to its website.

“Karpower has agreed to renegotiate with the government to ensure that the backlog does not become a problem,” Seidi said at a press conference on Tuesday.

In September, Karpowership switched off the electricity supply to Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown due to an unpaid debt of around $40 million.

(Reporting by Alberto Dabo; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Bill Berkrot)