Mobile phones consume 150 megawatts of electricity – VRA

The charging of mobile phones in the country consumes 150 megawatts of electricity, which is equivalent to the capacity of the Bui Dam, Mr Sam Kwesi Fletcher, the Head of Corporate Communications at the Volta River Authority (VRA), has said.

He said charging a phone’s battery consumed 10 watts of electricity and while it normally took only two hours to charge a phones battery, many phone owners charged their phones throughout the night, bringing the energy consumption of the estimated 15 million mobile phones in the country to “150 million watts (or 150 megawatts) of electricity”.   GHATOF 

Mr Fletcher was speaking at a meeting called by the Ghana Tourism Federation (GHATOF) in Accra to discuss the effects of the energy crisis on the tourism industry. 

Some of the members of the federation, especially the hoteliers, painted a harrowing picture of the financial crunch they were going through as a direct result of high electricity tariffs and irregular supply.

Mr Fletcher said much of the problem had to do with wastage. 

“While from the supply side, that is, from the VRA, Sunon Asogli and Aboadze Thermal plants,  ECG and GRIDCo, wastage accounts for 22 per cent, the stark reality is that consumers waste as much as 30 per cent of electricity. By the last count, there were 27 million mobile phone lines connected; that is, two million lines more than the 25 million population. 

“The effect of this increased domestic consumption, coupled with intensified industrialisation, is that while in the past one cargo of light crude, equivalent to 400,000 barrels, imported at a cost of US$60 million to produce electricity lasted 90 days, today that same quantity lasts only 20 days. So it is no exaggeration when we say that 98 per cent of VRA’s revenue goes to buy crude oil to produce electricity,” he stated.

The solution, Mr Fletcher said, lay in the regular and constant production or supply of cheaper natural gas, while efforts were intensified to produce alternative sources such as solar and wind energy locally.

On the local production side, he said the coming on stream of the Atuabo Gas Plant was key.  

For his part, Mr Stephen Blay, the acting Director of Research at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, said Ghana’s current energy situation was the direct consequence of postponed actions and deferred solutions.

  Financial Crunch
The President of GHATOF, Mr David Nana Anim, said there was urgent need for the government to help reduce the financial crunch being suffered by private operators of tourism plants. 

Dr Herbert Acquaye, the President of the Ghana Hoteliers Association, advocated the granting of concessions to tourism operators to import equipment for the generation of alternative sources of energy.

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