… The Responsibility Of ECG/GRIDCO/VRA
By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai
Since December 25, a greater part of Accra has not been experiencing the dreaded power cuts. I believe we are not alone enjoying this Christmas and New Year change in power supply. Many areas beyond the Accra metropolis are also said to be experiencing free flow of power making it possible for us all to go about our domestic activities with ease. Those involved in small and medium sized businesses such as seamstresses?, hairdressers, tailors; barbers would also heave a sigh of relief for enjoying uninterrupted power to improve services to their clients and to boost their incomes.
Although the Electricity Company of Ghana, Gridco, and Volta River Authority deserve commendation, we need to hasten slowly in heaping praises on them. A critical look at the situation shows that all is not yet well with power supply in Ghana.
The Volta River Authority has served notice to us that ?the nation is not yet out of the woods? as we would continue to experience load shedding for the time being leading to planned power cuts as we experienced in the recent past. This is because due to reduction in the level of water in the Volta lake, the Volta River Authority is operating only five of its six turbines to produce electricity.
According to officials of the VRA the situation would improve only when the water level in the dam increases significantly in the coming years. Since we have no control over the water level we have no choice but to wait and pray ceaselessly for improvement in the rainfall pattern in the northern parts of the country next year. Again , according to The Planning and Business Development Officer of the Volta River Authority , Mr. Kofi Ellis, the electricity company of Ghana owes the Volta River Authority about one billion cedis. Apart from this debt which emanate from unpaid power supplied by the VRA to the ECG the ECG owes many local banks huge sums of money used in buying power for supply to homes and industries across the country.
The ECG generated huge sums of money from its customers but the money was converted to dollars. It was first used in paying the foreign independent power producers (IPPs), before the remainder, was used to pay the local chain members, with the VRA being at the tail end of the receiving line.
According to Mr. Ellis Ghanaians should manage their expectations with care about the coming on stream of the Jubilee Gas because the gas cannot solve all our problems as it is meant to help power the machines of the VRA and thereby, help reduce the relatively higher amount of money used in the purchase of crude for the same purpose.
He said that by 2020, the Jubilee Gas would be exhausted and the country would have to revert to the purchase of expensive crude unless the Sankofa and Tweneboah-Enyera-Ntomme (TEN) projects come on stream by 2019.
He added that the machines at Akosombo Dam had been serviced to run efficiently for the next 30 years, with those at Akuse being worked on currently. He said barring all challenges, the dam would operate at full capacity if the flow of water normalized.
Going forward, he said, the demand for power would keep growing and stressed the need to add more generation avenues to step up supply.
With the gloomy picture painted regarding power supply in Ghana we need to do the following;
Make sure the authorities concern work out mechanism to reduce electricity consumption in government organizations and homes by providing prepaid meters in those buildings. Every government building should be made to spend limited amounts on power with the budget allowed them.
We must do all we could to intensify our search for more natural gas especially from the the Sankofa and Tweneboah-Enyera-Ntomme (TEN) projects as early as possible.
We must reduce the amount of power extended to neighboring countries such as Togo and Benin. With until we have surplus power from our power generating sauces
The electricity company and other and the ministry of power must embark on a national program to unearth all illegal power connections in homes and industries. This way we would be able to find solution to some of the problems that lead to our huge expenditure on power leading to load shedding in the country. If we are able to adhere to the above measures and those planned by government our problems with electricity would be solved in no distant future.