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Power crisis not over - Former VRA boss

Sept. 22, 2016, 9:19 a.m.

Former Volta River Authority (VRA boss), Kweku Andoh Awotwi, has said the country is not ‘home and dry’ as far as the power supply situation is concern.

According to Mr. Awotwi: “What we need is the generation in the system. There is plenty of power and that is a good sign. What you also find is that from time to time, it appears we don’t have enough fuel to operate the plants, so it says that the problems are more financial than technical”.

Electricity demand for the country currently stands at about 2,225MW. This is growing by 10 percent per annum and is expected to hit 7,000MW by 2030.

However, constraints of fuel sources for power generation -- crude oil, gas and water for hydro power generation -- have necessitated the need for exploring cost-effective, reliable, and clean power sources.

Given the current gas demand of about 450Mscf per day, indigenous gas and limited supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline are unable to meet demand. Available indigenous gas is also expected to run out by 2036.

“I believe that government is also making some initiatives by resolving to pay the debts owed VRA which will go a long way to solve some of the liquidity problems. Are we home and dry? Probably not, but we are making some good headway.

At the end of the day what you want is a sustainable situation not a one off. You don’t want to see every small problem rocking the boat. I am not sure we are quite at the sustainable place but we have made some strides,” he told B&FT.

He urged the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) to minimize their operational losses.

Mr Awortwi also maintained that “those losses go out of the door and the consumer does not benefit. If ECG and the Northern Electricity Development Company (NEDCO) can cut their losses by half that will help to bring the prices down. We are getting more gas that will help keep stable the price”.

The Energy commission said in March this year that it plans to woo investors into the power sector to achieve a "strong and non-congested transmission system". This is expected to facilitate efficient transmission of power produced by the generation segment of the value chain.

Government, with the help of USAID, has begun the process of developing a comprehensive master plan that seeks to permanently address the power challenges the country has been going through over the years.

USAID is supporting the development of the master plan through a US$3.8 million project dubbed “the Integrated Resource and Resilience Planning,” which will be implemented by ICF International, a U.S consulting firm, over the next two years.

Source: B&FT