Business News of 2014-01-30

Comment: Another power crisis looms?

We are back to the subject of energy in the right mix and supply to power the country’s development process.

Last week, we drew attention to the deepening challenges in the power sector when the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) announced an emergency power management exercise.

It had been the expectation of all Ghanaians that power challenges would be a thing of the past when the Atuabo gas project came on stream. By the original arrangement, work on the gas pipeline and processing project was to have been completed in December last year but that plan did not materialise.

Now we are being told the project will be completed by the end of April this year. Everybody appears to be sitting on tenterhooks now following reports that the volume of gas supplied from Nigeria has gone down completely, threatening electricity generation.

The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, is also quoted as saying at the gas project site at Atuabo that “we are at the crossroads”.

While Ghanaians are going through these anxious moments, not very sure of what is in store for them, presto — the Communications Manager of the Volta River Authority (VRA) has asked them to brace up for tougher times in 2015 with regard to power supply if the rains fail to come this year for the VRA to generate the required amount of power for distribution.

Judging from the goings-on, the power challenges facing the country will not go away any time soon. Consumers will have to brace themselves up for long periods without power.

The Daily Graphic is alarmed at this development because anytime the ECG is forced to reduce power supply to consumers, the effects are felt in all spheres of the economy.

Load-shedding (or its euphemism, power management) disturbs the plans of all users of power, whether for domestic or industrial purposes. The Daily Graphic wants to know what has happened to the next compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United States that promised a second phase of its support to Ghana to look at the energy sector.

If that agenda has fizzled out, Ghanaians ought to be told, so that they can ask their government to look at alternatives to resolve the power challenges.

The power crisis that stares us in the face again is not good enough and the Daily Graphic calls on the government to take steps to stem the challenge to assure all categories of consumers of uninterrupted power.

We cannot attract investors if we cannot guarantee easy access to power to grow the economy in order to stay on course to attain a higher middle-income status according to the plan.