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Posted on Friday, 22 February 2013 17:30

Ghana: Erratic power supply haunts government

By Lawrence Quartey

President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama/Photo©Reuters

There seem to be no light at the end of the tunnel, three months after Ghanaians were promised an end to erratic power supply and intermittent power cuts, electricity outages remain the order of the day.



 

The newly elected Ghanaian government on Thursday made a U-turn on an election promise to ensure stable electricity supply, but maintained it was doing everything possible to resolve the country's power crises.



In his maiden speech to parliament on Thursday, President John Dramani Mahama conceded that power shortages were causing the government sleepless nights, but he was no wiser on when the situation would normalie.

But sceptical Ghanaians had little to smile about, as Mahama did not give timeframes for when he thought the situation would be rectified.

Power outages have moved from being a programmed load shedding to erratic interruptions leaving many homes without power for days.

Households no longer know the when power will be cut and many people are reporting damages of appliances due to the frequent unannounced interruptions.

"The current developments do not reflect the investments and progress we have been making in the area of electricity generation," Mahama said in a speech boycotted by the opposition.

"What should be our successes and rather augment available generation capacity has unfortunately been undermined by a number of unforeseen developments."

Mahama linked the main challenge to the damaged West African Gas Pipeline that has affected the flow of gas needed to power the country's thermal power plants.

"We have made good progress in fixing the damage done to the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCO), only to experience a drawback, when nearly 600 kilometers of the pipeline was inundated by seawater."

He said in a frantic effort to pump the sea water out, two of the country's most experienced engineers lost their lives in an underwater explosion.

The Ghanaian president stated that the repercussions of the incapacitated gas pipeline had brought near total darkness "to our neighbours in Togo and Benin," and led to the loss of over 200 megawatts of electricity supply to Ghana, adding that work on the WAPCO was now planned for April 2013.

He said the country was expecting the addition of more than 500 MW of installed generation capacity this year.

Mahama in his election manifesto had promised to increase the country's power generation capacity to 5000 megawatts by 2016, from the current 2,443 megwatts.



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