We have no political motives - IPPs refute government's suggestions after ‘power supply cut’ threats
The Chamber of Independent Power Producers, Distributors and Bulk Consumers (CIPDiB), says as an apolitical group, it has no interest to raise tensions in the country as has been suggested by government, following their threats to cut power supply over unsettled debts.
Recently, Independent Power Producers in the country served notice to government that it will be forced to stop supplying power if government is unable to settle some over one-billion-dollar debt owed its members.
The Deputy Minister of Energy, William Owureku Aidoo, in response to the group’s threat, described them as exhibiting traits of a pressure group and creating unnecessary tension in the country.
However, in a statement issued by the Chamber, Chief Executive Officer of CIPDiB, Elikplim Kwabla Apetorgbor, says the timing of their threat is solely hinged on commercial exigencies and not on any political motives.
“We wish to assure government and the public that we have no political motives for the timing of the communication that IPPs may be forced to shut down. This is based purely on commercial exigencies we currently face and not any political agenda,” the statement noted.
According to the Chamber, “On average, IPPs, since 2017, are paid just barely 40% of power invoices on a monthly basis which is not enough to sustain operations, especially when these low payments have persisted for so long. Members have had to resort to loans in order to keep their operations going but at the cost of crippling debt service obligations which have become unsustainable hence the demand for the prompt payment of overdue invoices to the tune of $1.44billion as at 30th September 2020.”
“The unpaid invoices owed IPPs is crippling the businesses of our members. It would interest the public to know that the Energy Sector debt to IPPs which was $124 million at the end of 2016 has ballooned ten-fold to $1,180 million as of 31st July 2020. Clearly, this is unsustainable and poses serious economic and financial risks to our members which is why we are being compelled to serve notice to Ghanaians about the possibility of a forced shutdown due to lack of funds to maintain our operations,” the statement added.
The Deputy Minister of Energy in his reaction to the IPPs threats had accused them of embarking an unfortunate venture of stoking unnecessary tension at a time when the nation is entering an election month.
“The Chamber is being used as a pressure institution to pressure government into doing things that it is already doing; having one on one discussions with individual power producers and so on. With three weeks to elections, it is very unfortunate to hear this Chamber of Independent Power Producers coming out to say they will pull the plug on us, creating unnecessary panic within the system. My recent interaction with them shows there is no cause for alarm, so it is very worrying that they will come out and say things the individual power producers are not saying,” he said.