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Karpowership

Guinea-Bissau capital in darkness after Turkish firm cuts power supply

Guinea-Bissau capital in darkness after Turkish firm cuts power supply
A local woman walks past a polling station for the presidential elections in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, 24 November 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDRE KOSTERS

BISSAU, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Guinea-Bissau's capital was plunged into darkness on Tuesday after Turkish company Karpowership cut off electricity supplies to the West African nation due to an unpaid debt of $17 million, the economy minister said.

Minister Suleimane Seidi said arrangements were underway to pay $15 million of arrears owed by the Electricity and Water Company of Guinea-Bissau and promised the issue would be resolved within 15 days.

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.

In a statement on the situation in Guinea-Bissau, a Karpowership spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, following a protracted period of nonpayment, our (floating power plant) is now unable to continue operating.”

“We are working around the clock with officials to resolve this issue, and we aim to have generation back online as soon as possible,” the statement said.

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 Stephen Coates and Cynthia Osterman)

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