Dr Kwabena Donkor addressing the audience at the forum
The Director of Planning and Policy at the Energy Commission, Michael Opam, has called for a massive campaign for consumers of electricity to switch off refrigerators during peak periods as a short-term approach to help mitigate the current energy crisis.
This approach, he believes, would help save 300 megawatts of electricity which could be used for other productive activities in the country.
He, however, indicated that the need to generate adequate power which exceeds consumer demands in the long-term could help the country see an end to the fluctuating power supply.
Mr Opam also challenged the Ghana Gas Company to expedite work on the West African Gas Pipeline Project and refrain from giving unrealistic timelines.
Customers, he pointed out, should also be ready to pay a little more for power while power distributors are also to manage revenues collected judiciously.
‘What we can do from my point of view is demand side management because the capacity is no yet there. Assuming at peak time a million households turn off their refrigerators at peak time, we can immediately knock down demand by 300 megawatts,’ he said.
Mr Opam was speaking on the subject, ‘Keeping Ghana Switched On: Challenges and Prospects for Stable Power Supply’ forum organised by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA), in Accra, to deliberate on how the energy challenges of the country could be addressed.
Elaborating further on remedy to the energy crisis, the director pointed out that the challenge could be resolved when strong transmission systems are installed to enable sufficient power to move from source to consumers.
‘Effective demand side management, energy efficiency and conservation should be explored. There must be reliable distribution networks while distribution companies exhibit credibility. Customers should pay their bills regularly to sustain power supply,’ he stated.
Dr John Kwakye, Senior Economist, IEA, also highlighted that regular power supply could contribute to growing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
However, he mentioned that the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum had attributed the frequent power interruptions to obsolete electricity distribution infrastructure.
‘The Institute’s research revealed that the energy crisis poses serious economic challenges to the country hence all stakeholders must help tackle it with urgency and propose some solutions to help in address the problem,’ he stressed.
Dr Kwabena Donkor, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, also highlighted on the need for the nation to have a long-term vision on how electric power could be used to tap the abundant resources of the country and create jobs so the appropriate investments are made, saying, ‘The future of industry lies in the availability of reliable cheap power supply. If the country is to progress, the problems of power supply needs to be addressed so the rich natural resources of the country could be tapped.’
He called for a non-partisan collective effort at addressing the energy challenges, adding that policy makers should not settle for cheap solutions in tackling the predicaments.
Ishmael Edjekumhene, Executive Director, KITE, also stressed on the need to provide adequate power reserve systems and the procurement of more generation capacities coupled with enhanced distribution networks to help fix the frequent blackouts.
By Ernest Nutsugah
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