The situation with Ghana’s power sector is set to worsen as utility providers struggle to keep the lights on for domestic and industrial consumers.
Barely a year after a World Bank report on the energy sector made far-reaching recommendations for reforms, prospects for the power sector remain bleak and could get worse before things get better.
This is according to a Senior Energy Specialist at the World Bank Ghana office, Sunil Mathrani.
According to him ‘the quantum of debt and the interlock of debt of ECG,GRIDCO, VRA and Ghana water are seriously dragging down the sector and government should seriously look at this problem and this has gotten worse since a year ago, this is the crux of the matter.
In his view with lower than expected rains and delays in the completion of planned power projects, the power situation in the country is set to worsen.
‘Gas supply was late and Jubilee gas has still not come and maybe by the end of the year it will, but we are not sure. Nigeria gas deliveries are below what we expect and erratic and the development of gas on other fields particularly the Sankofa field agreements have not been reached with the investors in that field on the commercial terms for them to go forward and the project has a long gestation period, Sankofa alone will require five years and may require up to five billion dollars in investment so these are thing we feel needed attention a year ago and they are still pending’.
The World Bank released a report in July 2013 on Ghana’s power and petroleum sectors, calling on government to take steps to improve the technical and efficiency of the utility providers especially the ECG and also remove barriers to attracting Independent Power Producers and improve the oversight work of the PURC.
While admitting that Ghana is moving in the right direction as far as policy choices are concerned, the energy analyst speaking to Citi FM on the state of the power sector said almost a year after the recommendations, the rate of progress remains too slow.
‘‘There hasn’t been much evolution in the last twelve months, the executive summary at the beginning of the report contained two pages of tables which gives recommendations at the time, we wrote it with action points and recommended time frames for implementing the most of which have not been implemented and they have to be because they are still valid’.
You know there are two key physical shortcomings today, one is lack of adequate functioning generation capacity and fuel to run the power plant we have and, unfortunately, within one year, apart from the commissioning of Bui which was in the pipeline for a long time, no new thermal power plant has come into service and we are facing generation shortages as you know because of lack of capacity and also lack of availability of an existing plant that have not been running due to technical problems’.