NewsWest AfricaElectricity: Ghana's power crisis deepens

Tue,20Nov2018

Posted on Wednesday, 04 February 2015 14:53

Electricity: Ghana's power crisis deepens

By Dasmani Laary

Photo©ReutersGhana's energy crisis has deteriorated in recent times, hitting businesses hard, with authorities blaming the situation on low water levels in the Akosombo Dam and lack of gas to power the country's thermal plants.

Industries are laying-off workers, domestic power consumers are complaining of destruction of household appliances, while cold store operators are grouchy over their rotten fish and meat products due to persistent erratic supply.

We intend to take to the streets of Accra on 6 March 2015, Independence Day, to demonstrate

The situation has compelled the West African country's chief power distributor, Electricity Company of Ghana to introduce a load shedding timetable to regulate supply, but domestic and industry users have slammed the company for not sticking to the schedule.

"The situation is badly affecting our businesses, cartons of fish are left to go bad and we discard them every day, our businesses are collapsing," a cold store operator told The Africa Report on Wednesday, adding, "the ECG must respect the rationing timetable so that at least we can plan well."

"We are in a critical and a serious situation, Akosombo is being hopelessly run, it's gone, the Aboadze plants are in hopeless conditions," minority spokesperson on Energy K.T. Hammond told local media.

"Of the installed capacity of about 2,800 megawatts, we are running just about 1,200 megawatts.

"It's a very dangerous situation."

Pressure groups have issued threats to demonstrate on March 6, Ghana's Independence Day, while business associations are warning power managers to fix the crisis or more workers will be retrenched.

"We intend to take to the streets of Accra on 6 March 2015, Independence Day, to demonstrate against the continual erratic electricity supply and the seeming lack of ability of both the government and the ECG to get a grip on the problem," a group calling itself , said in a statement.

Local woodworkers also demanded that the government and the country's power producers take immediate steps to fix the ailing sector or risk witnessing a massive collapse of industries, particularly indigenous ones.

But Power minister, Kwabena Donkor has assured the nation that the energy crisis would be over before the end of 2015 following a number of measures he said government was implementing.

"The Ministry is working on different emergency power arrangements to shore up the supply situation," he said.

"These arrangements will eventually increase our generation capacity by about 1,000MW in the short term.

"And ultimately provide us the platform to pursue the medium to long term solutions, we are hopeful that these measures will stabilise the situation."

However, many people doubt the pledge as this is not the first time government officials have given such assurances of ending irregular energy supply going for two years now.

With the worsening power situation in the country, government has opened up the sector to allow private sector participation in electricity generation.

Two options are on the government's agenda – partial privatisation or a concession contract – to attract investment in the state-owned power distribution company.

The Volta River Authority, Ghana's main power generator had projected about $1.5 billion was needed to improve the country's power generation, while President John Dramani Mahama indicated the country requiredto generate at least 220 megawatts every year to end the crisis.



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