Ghana’s utility providers are struggling to provide electricity for domestic and industrial consumers due to the worsening power crisis in the West African country.
The precarious situation is blamed on some technical problems with the Volta River Authority’s (VRA)’s power plants in the Western Region and other power plants across the country.
The Public Relations Manager at the Electricity Company of Ghana, William Boateng, said the with about 600 megawatts deficit, consumers should brace themselves-up for an acute power shortage. “…If you look at the load on regional basis; the entire load of Volta Region is 60, Eastern is 60, Western is 200; Ashanti is also around 200; so when you tell me to shed 600 and I don’t touch Accra, I will put about four regions together to meet that request. So shedding 600 without touching Accra which is the capital; we will be in trouble” he noted. Among the measures to mitigate the crisis, government is expecting the first of two emergency power barges from Turkey by November this year.
But the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) has directed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to start shedding about 600 megawatts (MW) of power from Thursday as a result of the insufficient generation of power.
According to information available to GB&F, GRIDCo off-peak load-relief request affected 210MW of power to the Greater Accra Region; 120MW to Ashanti; 120MW to Tema; 60MW to Western; 40MW each to Central and Eastern, and 20MW to the Volta Region. The VRA relies on the Ghana Gas Company to power its thermal plants in Takoradi, and also relies on N-Gas in Nigeria to power thermal plants in Tema.
But the supply of gas has not been consistent due to intermittent technical challenges as well as inadequate funding to secure the product.
Furthermore, energy experts have predicted that the ongoing load-shedding will extend well beyond this year.
Kwame Jantuah and Kwadwo Poku noted that the lack of planning and misplaced priorities by managers of the energy sector have translated into the current crisis, fearing that the worse is yet to come.
“We are leaving the problems to meet us before we plan for them. Dumsor, dumsor is not going to end by end of this year, it’s impossible,” said Kwame Jantuah.
Kwadwo Poku’s forecast is more specific: “We are going to have maybe six hours of light-off in a day. Dumsor as we know it is going to take a long time”.
The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam lamented that the current energy crisis is overshadowed by a much bigger financial crisis that will keep the country in persistent darkness until more than $1bn debt albatross is removed.
Giving the breakdown of the debt, he revealed that government owes ECG $500million while ECG owes the VRA more than ₵1bn.
In turn, VRA owes N-Gas of Nigeria $170million while Sunon Asogli owes VRA more than $100 million.
The labyrinth of debt does not end there. Without giving numbers, Amin Adams revealed VALCO owes VRA while ECG owes Asogli.
The depressing painting continues as VRA owes Ghana Gas and also owes several banks, he said.
“We are talking about a cummulative debt of about $1billion,” he told an Accra-based radio station.