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History of electricity in Cameroon

English-Speaking Cameroon

1929 : The Luermann and Malale hydroelectric power plants were inaugurated and supplied electricity to the Muyuka region. This was mainly intended for homes and factories of colonists (private initiative).
1946 : A public electricity utility entity was created to supply electricity which was bought mostly from private plants installed by colonists.
1958 : construction of the Yoke power plant.

French-Speaking Cameroon

Before the 1939-1945 war: the first electricity plants in Nkongsamba, Douala and Yaounde were created by the Administration and operated through private management companies or directly by the companies themselves.
1948 : A mixed economy company known as "Energie Electrique du Cameroun (ENELCAM)" was created and assigned to develop the Edea I hydroelectric plant on the Sanaga to supply power to Douala and Edea as from 1st January 1953. This power plant initially had two 11 MW units, supplemented by the construction from 1955 to 1958 of the Edea II power plant with 6 units of 20.8 MW each. In the meantime, a third 11 MW unit was installed at Edea I. This additional construction was made to supply electrical energy to the big electrochemical facilities that ALUCAM had just commissioned in Edea.

Subsequently, the Edea power plant has been extended through progressive development from 1966 to 1976, first by ENELCAM and later by SONEL with the adding of Edea III (five units of 20.8 MW each).

Independent Cameroon

1962 : The Cameroon Electricity Corporation (POWERCAM) was created in West Cameroon.
1963 : A mixed economy company known as "Electricité du Cameroon (EDC)" was created with majority shares owned by the State of East Cameroon and local councils. It was intended to manage all public distribution of electricity, and subsequent generation and transmission facilities, with the exception of the Edea power plants that was run by ENELCAM. It eventually took over the following concessions:

  • from 1st July 1964, public power distribution systems in Douala and Edéa;
  • from 1st February 1966, public power distribution systems in Yaounde, Bafang, Bafoussam, Dschang, Ebolawa, Foumban, Kribi, Maroua and Nkongsamba.
  • from 1st January 1971, public power distribution systems in Garoua;
  • 1967to 1974,EDCfundedand commissionedtheelectrificationof14towns inCameroon.

1973 : the State of Cameroon started discussion that led to the merger of ENELCAM and EDC to form a new company.
1974: on 18 May, the Cameroon National Electricity Corporation (SONEL) was created to with mission to manage public power distribution systems, including that of the former West Cameroon.

The constituent general assembly meeting of SONEL adopted the articles of association according to which SONEL became a mixed-economy public company with an industrial and commercial nature for the generation, transmission, distribution and use of electrical energy in Cameroon. The first Board meeting that was organized appointed the following persons:

  • NTANG Gilbert, Board Chairman
  • NIAT NJIFENJI Marcel, General Manager
  • NDIORO Justin and DAKAYI KAMGA Thomas, Deputy General Managers

1975 : Absorption of POWERCAM by SONEL
2001 (17 July)
: Privatization and takeover of SONEL by AES-Sirocco Limited, a subsidiary of AES Corporation that held 51% of the capital ; State of Cameroon 44% and Personnel 5%. This was the era of AES-SONEL.
2014 (23 May) : The Government of Cameroon signed an agreement which granted ACTIS 56% of the shares of AES-SONEL and its subsidiaries KPDC and DPDC.
11 August 2014 : Mr Joël NANA KONTCHOU was appointed as new GM and was officially installed on 19 August.
12 September 2014 : The new company name was unveiled during a ceremony at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel, chaired by the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Dr. Basile Atangana Kouna. This marked the beginning of the era Eneo Cameroon S.A. (Eneo).

Some pictures of the history of electricity in Cameroon


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