Telesom & Sompower are Somaliland’s two biggest and main utility corporations providing electricity and power in the country. Sompower – jointly owned by Dahabshiil & Mohamed Aw Saeed – has invested in some solar energy systems in the north of Metro Hargeisa, about 6 miles north of Daloodho neighborhood. This pilot project area is about one square mile with abundant installations of new solar panels. Sompower is also investing in bigger diesel generators to supply the northern suburbs of the city located beyond the North of the dry valley. This company is also planning to set up a similar pilot project in the South side of Metro Hargeisa, particularly in the Masalaha neighborhood near the Egal International Airport to boost the scarce power supply in that part the city. Those two fields will cover about 90 percent of the electricity demands of the whole city of Hargeisa. Those two fields will cover about 90 percent of the electricity demand of the entire city of Metro Hargeisa.
Sompower has made an intense research and found out that the current electricity demand is 10MW/H in a day for Metro Hargeisa. A megawatt (MW) is a unit for measuring power that is equivalent to one million watts. A megawatt hour (MWH) is equal to 1,000 kilowatts of electricity used continuously for one hour, which is the amount of electricity used by about 330 homes during one hour.
The two solar fields/systems, in the North and the South of the city, will generate a power supply of at least 8MW/H during the day. The rest of the electricity demand is going to be produced by the diesel generators.
Telesom did not make a similar move in this competitive approach sector so far. Telesom might obviously lose their current customers to the more aggressive Sompower, if it doesn’t show interest in investing tangible projects in that solar field soon. Similarly, the other smaller electric companies in Somaliland such as Indhabirta, Maansoor, and Adan Siiro would be adversely affected. Eventually, Sompower may absorb all of them or ask to merge with it.
Sompower has already done similar pilot projects in Gabiley area, that is functioning very nicely. They now supply their customers with the cheapest electricity in Somaliland- around 30c/kWh by using a solar field/system during the day. They, then, switch to a bigger generator for the first six hours of the night. After that they switch to a smaller generator that consumes less diesel for the remaining hours of the night. The switching is done automatically by a computer system. So, there’s less overhead and less expenses in this method. A proven way that is sustaining them with profits, so far.
Telesom is the major telecommunications company in Somaliland that also runs the popular ZAAD, a mobile money management system. The major stakeholder of this company is the former owner of Albarakat, Jumaleh, who is NOT a Somaliland citizen.
Unfortunately, our past and present governments failed to show any interest in the businesses of electric power generations, mobile phone telecommunications, or even modern banking systems until now. That lack of interest on the part of Somaliland government would have a major impact on the poor segment of the public and the country as a whole.
Omer Ahmed Hassan, MBA
Business & Political Strategist
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