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Current gov't doesn’t owe Independent Power Producers - Amewu replies Jinapor

The Energy Ministry has dismissed assertions by the former Deputy Minister for Power under the John Mahama administration that the recent power outages were as a result of government's inability to pay debt it owed Independent Power Producers (IPPs), including Ameri and Karpowership.

John Jinapor, who was speaking on Accra-based Adom FM, stated that the Independent Power Producers were struggling to procure heavy fuel to power their plants because of government’s indebtedness.

But addressing a press conference on Monday, Energy Minister John Peter Amewu described as false the assertions by Mr Jinapor.

Although he admitted that government owed some of the Independent Power Producers, he explained that these debts were legacy debts inherited from the previous governments and not debts incurred by the Akufo-Addo's administration.

He said President Akufo-Addo's government inherited about US$ 2.8 billion energy sector debt but was quick to explain that because of the ESLA Bond, which was issued by the government, portion of it had been used to settle the debt, bringing the outstanding debt to about US$2.3 billion.

"As I speak, the last reconciliation which was done by the energy sector debt has declined from $2.8 billion over the period to almost about $2.3 billion so there is still a huge debt that is needed to be settled," Mr Amewu explained.

On the claim by John Jinapor that state power distribution, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), was making a loss of GHS2 billon as a result of some inefficiencies, Mr Amewu blamed the problems, which is making ECG losing revenues squarely on Ghanaians and other factors.

He mentioned power theft, popularly known as illegal connection, transmission and distribution losses, losses as a result of metering system, inability of government agencies to pay power consumed, as well as generation losses as some of the factors contributing to losses ECG is making.

He, however, said government had taken steps by ensuring that government agencies such as Ministries, Metropolitan, Municipal, District and Departments were taken off the national grid and depended on solar in a bid to prevent situation where government agencies consumed electricity but failed to pay their bills.

Touching on what occurred in the sector, which resulted in recent power outages, he explained that the outages were as a result of fuel supply challenges that hit the sector.

"We had fuel supply challenges for generation in the East. Nigeria gas stopped flowing due to low pressure in the line to Itoki on 22nd November, 2018.

"Nigeria has been reliable over the past one year, rising to 80mmscfd. A combination of delayed supply of HFO for Karpower and unavailability of gas from Nigeria meant that about 800MW of available generation was compromised. These included 450 MW of Karpower and about 400MW of Asogli," he added.

Mr Amewu noted that the challenges that resulted in outages have been resolved, assuring that Ghana would not experience power crisis again given the measures put in place by government.

Source: Michael Creg Afful

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