General News of Thursday, 1 January 2015
President John Mahama has said his Government will banish erratic power supply (dumsor) from the country in 2015.
“The year 2015 will be one filled with fruitfulness, joy, peace, good health and development. Now this is the interest part: It will be one in which we banish darkness from our land and put an end to dumsor forever,” President Mahama said when he addressed a huge congregation of Perez Chapel at Dzorwulu after worshipping with them to cross over into the New Year.
Mr Mahama told the presiding Bishop, Charles Agyin Asare and the congregation the intention to banish “dumsor” in 2015 is an “interesting prophetic pronouncement.”
Last year, Ghana experienced severe power crisis, which is expected to roll over into the New Year as a result of the shedding of close to 450 Megawatts by state power producer Volta River Authority as a result of a fall in production due to low water level at the hydro stations and lack of regular gas supply to power the thermal plants in the country.
Domestic consumers, per a load shedding timetable used by state power distributor Electricity Company of Ghana, went off the national grid for 12 hours every two days while industrial zones went off for two straight days and got connected back to the grid for six days uninterrupted.
The President recently formed an entirely new Ministry of Power to solely handle issues regarding power supply, but critics, especially the main opposition New Patriotic Party, has been hitting hard at the President for the power crisis.
While bemoaning the crisis, the NPP’s 2016 Flagbearer recently mocked the President for, “promising not to give us any more promises” about when the power crisis will be solved. He said: “To us in the NPP, reliable, affordable energy supply is the lifeline of our overall vision to transform the Ghanaian economy into a modern industrialised one.”
“We know we cannot secure the future without electricity to power our plans into that future. So solving once and for all, the culture of load shedding and mismanagement in the energy sector is a major priority for us,” he added.
According to him, “The recent extension of load shedding to industries puts the entire economy and its capacity to attract new investment into grave danger. We know we cannot speak of industrialisation when we cannot give hairdressers and barbers electricity to stay in business.
Speaking at the second Aliu Mahama memorial lecture, the former Attorney General said: “We are happy about the news that finally, Ghana’s largest ever private sector built power plant, the $900m, 350MW plant by Cenpower in Kpone, which started nine years ago under President Kufuor, is taking off, bringing on board one of the major global players in the energy sector, the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo. But, the challenges faced by the Kpone power project over the last few years is in itself a powerful reminder that we need to set the right market conditions to attract many more of such investments.”
In his view, “beyond macroeconomic issues and integrity of contract, another major challenge to growth posed by Ghana’s power sector is not primarily a matter of limited generating capacity, but rather one of poor reliability. That is why, in spite of Ghana’s installed capacity of 3000MW, we still cannot meet our peak demand of 2000MW. Again, this can be fixed. We will do so, first, by appointing people who can do the work, set them clear goals and give them the resources and independence to deliver. We will ensure value for money in all procurement contracts. We must bring to an end the situation where consumers are forced to subsidise corruption and inefficiency in the power sector.”