Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
The perennial power crisis known in local parlance as Dum-sor has returned with a bang after what looked like uninterrupted power supply during the Easter break.
The government through the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) reportedly bought power from La Cote d’Ivoire just for the Easter festivities but parts of the major cities were plunged into darkness at midnight on Monday, an indication that the Dum-sor is going to continue unabated.
Some critics have expressed surprised at how the NDC government appears to be interested in providing electricity only on festive occasions at a time industries and major businesses are collapsing as a result for the dum-sor.
There has also been massive lay-off of workers since the dum-sor heightened.
In February for instance, GRIDCo bought about 80 megawatts of power to provide additional power to enable Ghanaians watch the Black Stars semifinal match during the African Cup of Nations Tournament in Equatorial Guinea.
The government’s promise of bringing in additional power barges has not materialized because the 1st April deadline given by Power Minister Dr. Kwabena Donkor has elapsed.
Interestingly, the contract for the public-private partnership (PPA) agreement between the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and Karpowership of Turkey over the emergency power barges or ships to mitigate the power generation deficit had reportedly not been signed yet.
Daily Guide learnt that, the signing of the contract delayed because funding had still not been secured and the Turks additionally, want a clear-cut guarantee to ensure that their investment did not go down the drain.
Under the agreement, the Turks are expected to run the barges and sell power to the ECG for onward transmission to customers which is equivalent to what the Volta River Authority (VRA) is doing for ECG.
Daily Guide sources said the said barges are already under contract in Lebanon until July, 2015 even though government officials are in Ghana claiming the ship were arriving on April 1.
ACEP red flag
Energy policy analysis think tank Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACET) has already raised red flag over the barges deal saying the government could have get outright purchase of the barges for less than what they are going to hire.
Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director of ACET told journalists recently that checks indicated that for the next five years that Ghana will be leasing the barge, it will cost the tax payers US $ 700 million.
“This excludes fuel cost. Interestingly, ACEP gathered that a total outright sale would have cost Ghana for same GE power plant between US$ 180-220 million.”
Dr. Donkor at a media briefing was emphatic that the barges will arrive on time and added that the low water level in the Akosombo Dam malfunctioning and the retrofitting of some power plants was contributing to the poor power supply.
The government was also quick to deny the fact that gas supply from Nigeria which is mainly used to power the Asogli plant had been cut due to debt owed the West African neighbor.
According to the Communication Consultant at the Ministry of Energy, Edward Bawa Ministry, there was a short interruption of the gas supply to the Volta River Authority (VRA) recently due to a technical problem that was detected by the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) on one of its pressure pipes and said “the challenge was rather from Ghana.”
“WAPCo detected that they had a very high gas pressure alarms on their gas filter separator. And so they needed to resolve that,” he told Citi FM recently.
Interestingly, the Ministry of Energy claims there has not been any interruption of gas supply yet the country continues to be plunged into darkness.