General News of Thursday, 10 December 2015
Ghanaians will from next week enjoy a breather from the over three years of intermittent electricity supply that has caused many lives, crippled many businesses and brought the country’s economy on its knees.
“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, from next week, consumers will begin to feel the easing of the load shedding and by Christmas, but again, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, load shedding should be at the barest minimum if it exist at all. It may not exist as at Christmas or as at the end of the month. But the caveat is that, for example if the SPO trips, we’ll have a challenge for the short period that we will have to bring it back,” Power Minister Dr. Kwabena Donkor said on TV3’s Hot Issues, which will be aired next week Saturday.
Dr. Donkor who has come under a barrage of criticisms from Ghanaians and industry, outlined a number of interventions he said will start producing results from next week and ultimately by the end of the year.
In February this year he promised to resign as the sector Minister by the end of December should he fail to end the crisis, which the country has been grappling with in the last three years..
“At least the end of the year is December so you can hold me to that…Yes, I will resign,” he told Ghanaians on an Accra-based Joy FM on February 3, but the situation has since worsened with occasional improvement.
Even before December ends, a number of people have called on him to be honourable enough by resigning since there is no indication of the crisis, which has been tagged as ‘dumsor’, ending.
But speaking on the show, Dr. Donkor said “essentially we are working from all front. I expect that the quantum being shed should be reducing from next week by which time we’ll have the 120 unit in place from Atuabo, by which time the 150 TAPCo that is down would have been up”.
He revealed mechanical test is currently being run on the much talked about Karpower barge, the Kpong Thermal Power Plant, noting that installation is taking place on AMERI Power Plant.
Additionally, he said the TICO expansion component, which will add on 120 megawatts power, is also picking up, adding, “We are getting all our generation assets in place. That has been the major issue with load shedding.
“We’re bringing enough generation to break the deficit but early next year to mid next year, we will not just break the deficit but we will also create what we call redundancy; that is enough reserve, so that should one plant go either for planned maintenance or unplanned, will kick in the reserve generating facilities,” he said.
Dr. Donkor indicated that the country’s biggest electricity challenge has been generation “but it is not the totality of the problem. We’ve had issues sometimes with the supply of fuel”.
He said government will next week go to Parliament to seek approval for a Liquid Natural Gas contract as an alternative fuel for the country’s plants, particularly those within the Tema enclave.
“We are arranging to get a floating storage and regasification unit in Tema that could supply us about 120 million standard cubic feet of LNG a day and that could take care of the stranded plants in the Tema corridor,” he said.