General News of Tuesday, 27 November 2018
The long periods of erratic power supply, popularly known as ‘dumsor’ that hit the country a few years ago, will never return to torment Ghanaians.
General Manager in charge of Business Development at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Theo Asante Darko, gave the assurance in an interview on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday.
“Dumsor is not back and will certainly not be back, at least, as long as I work with ECG,” he added.
In the past month, many areas in Accra, and other parts of the country, have experienced frequent cuts in power supply. In some cases, the outages are as though there’s a planned schedule that the ECG is refusing to announce.
Reports indicate that unpaid government debt to power producers is the reason for the outages.
Although the Energy Minister, Peter Amewu conceded that financial challenges are partly to blame for the current outages, he said technical issues are largely contributory factors.
The Minister at a press conference on Monday, said while the West African Gas Pipeline Company Limited (WAPCO), expected US$3.2 per MMBtu as tariff, the government was willing and ready to pay US$1 per MMBtu.
He further explained that the West African Gas Pipeline Authority (WAGPA), the regulator for the company, however issued a new tariff of US$1.7 per MMBTu which the government finds more favourable and is awaiting approval by the committee of ministers of West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP).
“Our major challenge has been the incomplete reverse flow project to flow gas from the West to the East. We had to fast-track it through a by-pass which has been completed, but not connected to the West African Gas Pipeline yet. This is because WAGPA has not come out with the tariff for the reverse flow, and WAPCO will not sign the Gas Transportation Agreement (GTA) without a tariff. WAPCO wants to charge US $3.2 MMBtu, whilst we want to pay US$1 MMBtu.”
Mr. Amewu, however, stressed that the challenges of Ghana’s power supply and the power cuts citizens suffered are now under control.
“The Ministry of Energy wants to assure the public that the situation now is very much under control.”
Asante Darko agreed with the Energy Minister’s explanation that the technical challenges have been resolved.
“The information put out by the Energy Minister is correct and currently the situation is under control,” he added.
Bad contracts, high debts cause of Ghana’s energy woes – ACEP
The Executive Director of the Africa Center for Energy Policy, ACEP, Ben Boakye, has explained that the country’s current energy challenges resulting in a frequent power outage is due to the sector’s high indebtedness.
According to him, the many power contracts and agreements entered into in the past, had left the sector in dire financial challenges making it difficult to operate efficiently.
Speaking on Citi TV’s Point of View, Ben Boakye said for past few years, governments have been consistent in increasing debts to the sector due to their failure to properly assess proposed contractual agreements before entering into them.
“The power sector is living on steroids because the fundamentals haven’t shifted much. We had a crisis and moving out of the crisis we were just signing PPAs, contracts without a careful projection of what the real demand is. If we have excess beyond what we need, that becomes a debt on us. We kept signing and now we have the PPAs maturing,” he said.