World Bank Warns Gov’t On Power Crisis

Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy
A Senior Energy Specialist at the World Bank Ghana Office, Sunil Mathrani has advised Government to seriously look at the quantum of debt and the interlock of debt of ECG, GRIDCo, VRA and Ghana Water Company since the situation was seriously affecting the sector.

According to Mr Mathrani, with lower than expected rains and delays in the completion of planned power projects, the power situation in the country was expected to worsen.

The energy analyst, who was 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.

‘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 things we feel needed attention a year ago and they are still pending.’

He said utility providers were struggling to keep the lights on for domestic and industrial consumers and the problem has gotten worse since a year ago.

‘There hasn’t been much evolution in the last 12 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 has not been running due to technical problems.’

The World Bank released a report in July 2013 on Ghana’s power and petroleum sectors and called 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 work of the PURC.

Government has continuously promised to address the problems.


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