President John Dramani Mahama yesterday thanked Ghanaians for accepting to pay more for power so as to solve the power crisis that had hit the country for about four years.
The power crisis, popularly referred to as dumsor in the local parlance, led to the collapse of businesses, massive job cuts and deaths.
Addressing parliament in his last State of the Nation Address, the president expressed gratitude to Ghanaians for accepting to pay the recent killer tariffs imposed by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC).
“Much of our power is based on thermal generation now. Akosombo currently produces at about 380 megawatts and that is about 40% of its capacity. Akosombo is a 1,020 megawatts and so most of our generation today is based on thermal power. All our hydro sources are strained because of the low level of the Volta Lake caused by a changing climate. More thermal generation has meant that we have had to pay more in tariffs if we are to maintain sustainable power for our people. I therefore on this occasion wish to thank Ghanaians for your patience and your understanding. Mr. Speaker, I pledge to Ghanaians that I will continue to work to ensure that we will never find ourselves in such a dreadful situation ever again,” he underscored.
The PURC last December announced a 59.2% increase in electricity tariff but was later cut down after agitations by Ghanaians and organized labour over the high tariff.
President Mahama said yesterday that an additional 800 megawatts of power had been added to the national grid through the procurement of more power plants.
“About 800 megawatts of power has been added to our generation within the shortest period of time. Fast-tracking the finalisation and commissioning of KTPP added 220 megawatts; fast-tracking the commissioning of TICO’s combine cycle added 110 megawatts; mobilizing Karpower added another 220 megawatts and Mr. Speaker, as I speak, Ameri is adding 250 megawatts extra power to our transmission grid. In addition, 180 megawatts of Asogli phase two is also available as soon as we can get extra gas for it,” the president declared.
While taking praise and consolation in somewhat ending the nearly four-year crisis, the president noted that a lot more work needed to be done to sustain the country’s energy supply.
“…But much work still needs to be done to give us the comfort of sustainable generation going forward. I salute the former Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor and his Deputy Minister John Jinapor and their team of competent technical people. Mr. Armah Kofi Buah and his team at the Petroleum Ministry, I salute them. I salute the CEOs and staff of the Energy Commission, PURC, GRIDCo, TICO, Ministry of Finance, ECG and others. It has taken teamwork and the cooperation of many people to achieve this success. I thank all who stood with me to overcome this challenge that our nation faced. I thank this august House for passing the agreements that made it possible for us to procure these additional plants.”