NAWEC electricity transformer explosions in Gunjur
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
By Sainey Darboe:
On Tuesday 16th July, a NAWEC transformer at Gunjur beach exploded, causing fire which destroyed properties. A local taxi was burnt beyond repair and several others lost their merchandise in the blaze. Tuesday’s event is the second of its kind in as many weeks.
According to reliable sources on the ground, NAWEC was notified of the apparent malfunction of the transformer by some people at the beach on the morning of the Tuesday before the transformer gave in and exploded. By about 11am local time, the transformer caused fire resulting in thousands of Dalasis worth of property damage. However, there were no reported injuries. NAWEC took about fours hours to get to the location of the transformer by which time the damage had occurred.
What caused the explosion ?
Although there was no scientific investigation to ascertain the actual cause of the problem, observers indicated that the problem was due to higher than usual demand on the transformer at the particular location. As such, there is speculation that Golden Lead, a Chinese fish meal processing plant at Gunjur beach may be consuming large amount of electricity to power their machinery which the transformer was not able to sustain.
One resident at the beach indicated that it took four days before power was restored by NAWEC when the first transformer exploded. NAWEC’s explanation at the time allegedly, was that consumption at the beach was too high for the transformer which resulted in the explosion. A new and bigger transformer was then installed which has now also exploded. There is talk in the grapevine that Golden Lead appears to be consuming a substantial amount of electricity which may be the cause of the explosion.
According to our sources, the first transformer was replaced as a result of the higher usage which led to the first explosion. Another source on the ground intimated that during last year’s rainy season, the said transformer was causing sparks and the matter reported to NAWEC Head Office, but nothing was done to remedy the situation.
Speaking to GRTS Radio, local councillor, Momodou Charreh Jibba disclosed that officials at Gunjur beach have notified NAWEC of the malfunction of the transformer at about 8am on Tuesday morning. NAWEC, he said, did not respond to this concern immediately, and by 11am, the transformer was on fire. Councillor Jibba further disclosed that repair work was allegedly carried out on the transformer a week prior to the incident. It would appear whatever work was done, was not of a good standard. Mr Jibba indicated that NAWEC should be held responsible for the damage caused to property and appealed to them to consider compensating the young man who lost his taxi to the fire. “He is a young, married man who needs his taxi to feed his family and NAWEC should consider compensating him and others who have lost their properties to the fire,” said Councillor Jibba.
The Gunjur ward councillor concluded by urging NAWEC to be very responsive to calls and notification regarding their equipment to avert such incidents. Her further urged NAWEC to carry out routine and regular inspections of their electrical equipment to ensure defects are detected and remedied immediately in order to protect life and property.
NAWEC was contacted for their reaction and to shed light on the two incidents of their transformers exploding at Gunjur beach. They have not responded up to the time of going to press. This story will be updated if and when NAWEC responds to our inquiries.