There were power outages in parts of Accra and Kumasi last Monday, giving rise to speculations by some sections of the public that the nation might be returning to the power crisis period, otherwise referred to as ‘dumsor’.
In Accra, residents of Achimota, Tesano, Abeka Lapaz, Ablekuma, Manhean, Afuaman and surrounding communities experienced power outages for more than four hours in the night, while in Kumasi, more than half of the metropolis and its environs had a blackout yesterday morning as a result of the reduction in power supply.
Many companies in the Garden City had to revert to their generating sets to power their offices.
Towns such as Bekwai, Ejisu, Kumawu, Kwabre and Agona had blackout when the power supply to the region was reduced drastically.
No cause for alarm
However, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), who also doubles as the Chairman of the Load-Shedding Management Committee (LSMC), Mr William Amuna, said in spite of the blackout experienced momentarily in parts of Accra and Kumasi, the committee would not plan any load-shedding management.
He said whenever there was a trip in a generating set in any of the power enclaves, it precipitated the need to reduce power supply without even the consent of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to save the system from total collapse.
Mr Amuna further indicated that the Volta River Authority (VRA) had enough crude oil to fire the plants in Tema and Tarkoradi.
“The VRA has enough crude oil to power the thermal plants and, therefore, there is no cause for alarm. The situation is temporary,” he assured the public.
One of the generating sets which he said was under mandatory maintenance works was expected to be functional by the end of May.
As of the time of going to press, Mr Amuna said the situation was expected to improve, since data from their system showed that supply was high.
We are not the problem
The Public Relations Manager of the ECG, Mr William Boateng, said the problem was not from the ECG as most consumers thought.
“We are having generational challenges, and we are unable to tell what goes wrong because the problem is not coming from us. We only distribute what is given,” he explained.
Mr Boateng also said the ECG was yet to meet with the LSMC for a briefing on the current power situation.
Nonetheless, he added, the situation was temporary and was hopeful that the problem of power outages would be resolved very soon.
In Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Communications Manager of the ECG, Mr Erasmus Kyere Baidoo, told the Daily Graphic that the VRA and other power suppliers informed the ECG of possible power supply challenges ahead of the power outages.
According to him, the Ridge Bulk Power Station needed a total of 200 megawatts (MW) of power to supply all the substations under it on a daily basis.
“We have been given only 40MW to supply to all our customers,” he said.
As a result, he added, most of the areas and customers had to be disconnected, leaving only essential service providers such as the dams at Owabi and Barekese, where water is pumped, the Regional Administration, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
He gave an assurance that when the situation improved, customers would see an improvement in power supply, adding that “as of now, I cannot tell when things will improve”.
“As and when we get new instructions, we will go by them,” he said, and appealed to customers to bear with the company, since the problem did not emanate from the ECG.
Ghana currently has an installed power generation capacity of more than 3,000MW and it is likely to increase with additional power from the various projects going on.
However, the bane of Ghana’s power crisis in recent times mostly is the insufficient gas supply and low water levels in the dams, which prevent the hydro plants from producing at full capacity.
The Tema power enclave, for instance, needs more than 200 million scf to power the various plants. However, gas supply from Nigeria Gas (N-Gas) through the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) currently is less than 20 million scf, instead of the 120 million scf contracted.
Although some of the plants in Tema are running on crude oil currently, some thermal plants are idle because of the shortfall in gas supply from Nigeria, since they only run on gas.