President John Mahama
President John Mahama on Monday announced that his administration will bring in more companies to generate power in the country.
“More IPPs are coming in. And before they sign any agreement, they ask you to put down Letter of Credit (LC) and the moment you don’t pay them they draw down on the LC. And you have to top up the LC back to what it was.
“So it means we must be collecting enough money at the distribution level to be able to pay power producers. When the power producer was our good old VRA, Lee Ocran would not put off our lights….But when an IPP sets up its plant and you don’t pay, it will take it from the Letter of Credit,” he told journalists at the Flagstaff House on Monday in Accra.
The President called for prompt payment of electricity bills “so that when people don’t pay, we disconnect them.”
He was also unhappy with those who steal power.
“We must improve efficiency at the ECG level. The worst crime is those who steal power. Power loss due to distribution should be below 15 percent. It is estimated that we lose more than 25 percent in distribution. If this happens we cannot collect money to pay the upstream companies. That is why we need to restructure ECG under the MCC compact. It is targeted at restructuring ECG. “
ECG not for privatization
“And let me state emphatically that ECG is not being privatized. It is going to be a public owned company. It will be the owner of the equipment and logistics. Transformers and things are going to belong to ECG.
“We are going to put in a system that will allow more people from the private sector to operate alongside ECG. These people will end up employing more people than ECG will employ. “We will put in a system that will allow private sector to do collections. ECG will continue to exist, and we are going to inject more than GHS100 million into ECG.”
He said that the CEO of GNPC and a company called Quantum were currently in Qatar to arrange for a floating storage regassification unit (FSRU).
“It’s a floating barge that brings you liquid natural gas which regasses it and supplies power that to the barge. We need to have that as assurance, so that if anything happens to our own plants, we won’t have to shut down.”
He said government had invested a lot of money in GRIDCo.
Government institutions’ non-payment of bills
He said most recalcitrant culprits were government institutions even though budgets had been provided for them to pay bills.
When money comes, paying bills is not their priority but doing workshops at Dodowa because T & T will flow….We need to repackage these things so we can have sustainable power.
He added that government had made a plan from now to 2020 to put in an extra 3,000 megawatts.
By Samuel Boadi