Viewing cable 09CONAKRY187
Title: REVISITING GUINEA'S POWER GENERATION CAPACITY

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09CONAKRY1872009-03-26 15:55:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRY #0187/01 0851555
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261555Z MAR 09 CCY ADX0047C5B3 MSI9391
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3573
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
UNCLAS CONAKRY 000187 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D  COPY - ADDING SENSITIVE CAPTION 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ENRG ECON PGOV ASEC GV
SUBJECT: REVISITING GUINEA'S POWER GENERATION CAPACITY 
 
REF: A. 08 CONAKRY 0114 
     ¶B. 08 CONAKRY 0566 
 
¶1.  (SBU) SUMMARY.  A March 25 FMS visit to Conakry's central 
power station revealed that nothing has changed over the past 
year with respect to the country's looming electricity 
crisis.  Only a quarter of the generators are even 
operational, but EDG (Guinean Electric Company) only runs 
them at night because the company does not have enough cash 
to buy the fuel needed to run them during daylight hours. 
Maintenance consists of cannibalizing parts from 
non-operational generators to keep the other five running. 
The two generators donated by Libya shortly after the coup 
are being used at Camp Alpha Yaya, but even if they were at 
the main facility, they do not have the capacity to supply 
much more than what would be needed for one or two apartment 
buildings.  Increasing budget constraints suggest that the 
situation may get worse -- and lack of electricity has proven 
to be a flashpoint for civil unrest in the past.  END SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  (SBU) An Embassy team headed by FMS spent the morning of 
March 25 touring Conakry's power generation facilities with 
the Assistant Director General of EDG (Guinean Electricity 
Company).  FMS had initially visited the plant in April 2008 
with Econoff (reftel), although the March 25 tour was far 
more extensive as it covered all five generating facilities. 
The Conakry Tombo plant is the country's main power 
generating facility, regulating the supply of electricity not 
only to the capital, but to the interior as well.  Power 
generated by the country's hydroelectric dams is also 
controlled centrally at Tombo. 
 
¶3.  (SBU) An exact count was not possible, but there looked 
to be about 20 generators on site, all of which were in 
varying stages of disintegration.  The oldest generators 
(circa 1988) were non-operational as they had been almost 
completely cannibalized for parts.  Other generators appeared 
to be intact with respect to parts, but EDG officials said 
they were not in working condition.  EDG claimed that five 
generators are currently operational, but none of these were 
actually running during the plant visit.  They did start one 
up during the tour, but then shut it back down as the Embassy 
team left the building.  When asked why the generators were 
not running during the day, the EDG Assistant Director 
General initially hedged, but finally admitted that the 
company cannot afford the fuel required to operate them 
around the clock so they only run them at night. 
 
¶4.  (SBU) Compared to the FMS visit a year ago, the physical 
condition of the plant appeared unchanged.  There was no 
visible evidence of significant repair operations other than 
additional cannibalization of non-operational machinery. 
There were parts strewn about the floor.  FMS observed one 
repair facility, which EDG claimed is used to fix 
transformers, but no work was being done at the time of the 
visit. 
 
¶5.  (SBU) At the Mototo distribution station, EDG officials 
explained how the Conakry plant controls and distributes the 
power generated at Tombo as well as the country's four 
hydroelectric dams.  However, EDG said that they currently 
operate only one hydroelectric plant during the day and all 
four at night.  They claimed that this schedule was necessary 
during the dry season in order to conserve water. 
 
¶6.  (SBU) The Embassy team also visited the Kipe sub-station, 
which controls the power that goes to the Embassy as well as 
the neighboring Radio Television Guinean station.  According 
to EDG, the sub-station was specifically built to supply 
power to these two buildings, but because the Embassy no 
longer purchases power from EDG, the facility is 
underutilized.  FMS explained that the Embassy cannot take 
power off the grid at this point in time because the power 
supply line is not adequately protected. (COMMENT.  OBO has a 
pending project to upgrade the security on the supply line. 
END COMMENT). 
 
¶7.  (SBU) FMS inquired about two new generators that were 
reportedly donated by Libya shortly after the December 23 
coup.  EDG officials said that the two 800 kva generators 
were donated directly to the military and are currently being 
used at Camp Alpha Yaya.  (COMMENT.  At 800 kva, the Libyan 
generators produce 1/14th the amount of electricity as a 
single Tombo generator.  They would be far too small to 
supply power more broadly to the grid.  END COMMENT). 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶8.  (SBU) The bottom line is that nothing has changed over 
the last year with respect to Guinea's capacity to supply 
electricity.  EDG continues to lack the financial resources 
necessary to even run the operational generators, let alone 
repair the ones that are not working.  This situation may get 
worse in the months ahead as the national budget becomes even 
more constrained.  Conakry's power plant was built in 1988 
and with proper maintenance, should have been able to operate 
at full capacity for several decades.  Instead, the facility 
is falling apart just 20 years later, even with several new 
generators added in 1997.  The erratic supply of power to 
capital neighborhoods has proven to be a flashpoint for civil 
unrest in the past.  Although the CNDD is quite popular, the 
electricity issue is likely to surface again at some point, 
especially if diminishing budget resources mean that EDG may 
have to cut the electricity supply at night as well as during 
the day.  END COMMENT. 
RASPOLIC