General News of Thu, 16 Jul 201548
ECG says load-shedding timetable cannot be followed
The power crisis that has engulfed the country has worsened over the past week due to a shortfall of between 400 and 600 megawatts (MW) in power generation.
As a result, the initial load-shedding timetable designed to shed between 300MW and 400MW of power and which allowed consumers to enjoy 24 hours of power and 12 hours of power outage can no longer be followed.
According to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the erratic power supply, also known as “dumsor”, being experienced by consumers in recent times was mainly due to generation challenges.
Although the country is already undergoing load shedding, the situation has worsened since last weekend when some parts of the country experienced erratic blackouts.
In an interview, the Public Relations Manager of the ECG, Mr William Boateng, told the Daily Graphic that the company was currently not following any timetable because the quantum of power received from source was not consistent.
He said the producers of power had challenges which made it difficult for them to give the ECG the precise quantum of power to shed at a time.
“Sometimes we are told to shed an amount of power, but in the next few hours or minutes we are told to increase the power we are to manage when there is a sudden shortfall.
“ Also, when the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) Limited realises that there is a drop in generation, it sometimes knocks some of the ECG machines off or we have to knock some areas off to save the whole system from collapsing.
“The system is such that when there is a sudden shortfall in generation and you do not switch off some areas, the whole system will collapse, and so to save the system, we have to switch it off anytime the need arises,” he explained.
That, he said, was causing the erratic power outages in the country, adding that the ECG that was responsible for power distribution could not plan any timetable at the moment because the power given to it to supply was fluctuating.
However, he said authorities at the producing end had given an assurance that they were working on the problem and appealed to the public to bear with them, as well as the ECG.
“We hope that they will finish the ongoing work, so that we can revert to the old schedule,” he said.
However, the Minister of Power, Dr Kwabena Donkor, told the Daily Graphic that the Volta River Authority (VRA) was processing quantities of crude oil to be used as a stop-gap measure at the Aboadze plant, reports Della Russel Ocloo.
According to him, the plants were running at half load due to the switch over from gas to crude oil, as they were originally built on gas usage.
Dr Donkor explained that the buffer stock of crude oil that was available to the VRA as of last week when gas supply from Atuabo was cut had lasted for seven days, following the switching of the thermal plants from gas onto the crude platform.
"It is not entirely true that some 600MW will be cut off. Before the sudden suspension of gas supply as a result of the challenge with the FPSO, we were shedding an average of 350MW," he pointed out.
"On a daily basis, the situation could improve marginally, leading to sustained power for consumers. It could be possible to shed 600MW at peak periods on certain days, but the situation could change the following day," the minister stressed.
It is against the background of the worsening power situation that residents of Achimota in Accra yesterday trooped to the ECG offices at Dome to register their displeasure at the erratic power outages in the area, reports Adwoa Amofa Osei.
Clad in black and red attire, the residents carried spoilt gadgets such as television sets, refrigerators, radio sets, among others, to demonstrate the damage caused by the prevailing situation.
According to them, they had not received power for more than a week, a situation that had brought their businesses and private activities to a halt.
At the time of the visit by the Daily Graphic, the police who were present had been able to calm down tempers.
One of the residents, Mr Kwame Asiedu, told the Daily Graphic that they were infuriated because the situation in the area kept worsening, although some surrounding communities had power constantly.
When contacted, the Accra West Regional Senior Public Relations Officer of the ECG, Mr Eric Asante, said the problem was due to a fault at the Mallam Station where the bulk of power supply to the area came from.
He said the engineers had been able to restore power to some of the areas and were still working on places such as Dansoman, parts of Kasoa and Sukura.
He apologised to the customers and asked them to keep calm and bear with the ECG as it worked to improve the situation.
Donald Ato Dapatem reports that residents and businesses are reeling under what some of them call “an extreme version of dumsor” in the last two weeks.
The load management in Kumasi has become so severe and unbearable that some residents experience 12 hours of power on and 48 hours off.
According to those who spoke to the Daily Graphic, the haphazard manner in which power was managed did not allow them to plan their businesses and lives.
At Aprie, near Santase, residents said they had been without electricity supply for more than three days.
According to the Ashanti Regional Public Relations Manager of the ECG, Mr Erasmus Baidoo, instead of the original 200MW of power allotted to the region, it was presently receiving only 50MW.
That, he said, had forced the ECG to prioritise by satisfying the needs of vital installations such as Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) supply stations, military and police installations and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).