General News of Friday, 15 March 2019
Energy Minister, Mr John Peter Amewu, says the technical challenges that led to power outages in many parts of the country last Tuesday and Wednesday have been resolved.
He said the ministry and its agencies responsible for the production and distribution of power were working assiduously to prevent the occurrence of such extensive outages.
Mr Amenu said this after he had toured some power facilities in the Greater Accra Region yesterday to ascertain the cause of the outages.
The tour took him to the central business district (CBD) sub-station in Accra, the Pokuase Interchange, the Asogli Power Plant in Tema and the Kpong Power Plant at Kpong.
He was accompanied by officials of the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo), the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana.
Many parts of the country, especially the southern sector, were last Wednesday plunged into darkness as a result of intermittent power fluctuations.
It was the second time in two days that the country experienced such a major blackout.
Affected areas included almost half of the Greater Accra Region and parts of the Ashanti, Western, Volta, Oti, Western North and Eastern regions.
The situation led to the condemnation of the services of the PDS, the new entity that has taken over the operations of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Mr Amewu explained that the power outages were due to some technical challenges rather than low generation capacity.
He explained further that the outages were as a result of ongoing works on some transmission lines at Pokuase which interrupted the flow of current to some sub-stations in Accra, including the CBD sub-station at Adabraka.
He said the interruption also affected thermal plant stations of the Asogli and the Kpong thermal plants, a situation which forced power producers to shut down the plants to avert any damage.
Mr Amewu said there was enough feed stock for the generation stations to provide the required power for the country.
“We have available generation of about 26,000 megawatts (MW), while our quick demand is about 25,000MW. So in terms of generation we should be able to meet the demand.
“We know what power does to this country in terms of economic activities and, therefore, we will not relent in our efforts to ensure that there is sufficient transmission of power so that we are not plunged into darkness,” he told journalists at the end of the tour.
Briefing journalists on the cause of the power outages, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GRIDCo, Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah, explained that the CBD sub-station which supplied electricity to some parts of Accra, including Kaneshie, Osu, Ridge and Odorkor, suffered an automatic shutdown because the level of current that was supposed to be transmitted to the station exceeded its limit.
He explained further that due to the ongoing construction of the Pokuase Interchange, there was the need for the repositioning of transmission towers, a situation that resulted in the redirection of the load on the affected towers to the CBD sub-station.
He said although the move had been expected to be smooth, it overloaded the intake capacity of the CBD sub-station, causing it to shut down.
Mr Amoako-Baah said GRIDCo had, therefore, asked the PDS to re-transmit the excess load transported to the CBD sub-station to the Achimota sub-station to avoid a recurrence of the problem.
He gave an assurance that work on the transmission towers at Pokuase would be completed next week, after which the flow of current in the affected transmission lines would return to normalcy.
At the Asogli Power Plant, the Chairman of Sunon Asogli Power (Ghana) Limited, Mr Li Xiaohai, told the minister that the frequency of current recorded by the plant increased from 50 hertz (Hz) to 55 Hz last Tuesday and Wednesday evening, a situation he described as abnormal, hence the shutdown of the plant.
As of the time of the minister’s visit, the plant had resumed operations, with current production capacity of 269MW.