The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has outlined an elaborate plan aimed at dealing decisively with the energy crises that has bedevilled the country by bringing to an end the persistent, irregular and unpredictable electric power outages popularly known as ‘dumsor’.
The party aims at realising this objective through liquidity injection, restructuring of debts, and securing of firm commitments for the reliable supply of fuel.
In the long term, the party seeks to embark on a number of ambitious projects in the power sector aimed at returning the country into energy sufficiency for both industrial and domestic used under a 10-year Power Sector Master Plan.
These are contained in the party’s manifesto highlights for the 2016 elections.
The party blamed the current power situation on government’s poor management of the energy, corrupt and opaque procurement of new power plants sector resulting in shortfalls in power generation.
The party says, as part of its plans for the energy sector, it will develop a modern, diversified, efficient, and financially sustainable “Energy Economy” that will ensure that all Ghanaian homes and industries have access to an adequate, reliable, affordable and environmentally-sustainable supply of energy to meet their needs and to support the accelerated growth and development agenda we envisage for the country.
Respite for households and industry
The party also intends to beat down the current cost of electricity tariffs to bring some respite to consumers.
According to the manifesto, the NPP intends to reduce taxes on electricity tariffs to provide immediate relief to households and industry.
Additionally, the party has indicated its resolve to conduct a technical audit on all power sector infrastructures and develop and implement the 10-year Power Sector Master Plan which will be reviewed thereafter, to meet the country’s medium to long term energy needs.
Plan for new projects
To ensure an efficient and reliable power supply the party aims at ensuring that the procurement of new power projects are executed primarily through PPP and IPP arrangements, which will be carried out in a transparent and competitive manner in order to achieve a least-cost addition of power generation infrastructure.
“The current basis for procuring additional generation assets is inefficient and costly, and discourages production”.
The party also plans to develop and implement an Energy Sector Financial Restructuring and Recovery Plan, incorporating, a liquidity management mechanism for VRA, Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Northern Electricity Department (NED) and the BDCs.
The party also aims at leveraging natural gas as a long term source central to the operation of the power sector.
“Consequently, the NPP will develop and implement a long-term LNG utilization programme. In addition, the NPP will encourage and provide incentives to the private sector to develop aggressively potential sources of indigenous natural gas in addition to those from the Jubilee, TEN and
SANKOFA oil/gas fields and ensure that there is sufficient Reserve Margin – the safety cushion we need to prevent blackouts – to ensure the stability of the system”
The party recounted that under the Kufuor-led NPP government (2001-2008), significant contributions were made to the country’s energy resources and infrastructure as a result of our bold and farsighted policies.
These according to the party include: the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities, the construction of the West African Gas Pipeline in response to the emerging energy crisis of 2006/2007, through facilitations, procurements, and construction, an addition of 1440MW to Ghana’s generating capacity.
Measures for energy conservation
To ensure the sustainability of these measures the party said it would create an environment of clear policies, rules and regulations, and provide adequate price incentives to attract private sector investments.
“The NPP will prioritise and ensure actions to enhance and improve the capacity of the regulatory bodies, namely the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and Energy Commission (EC) to discharge their responsibilities in a more transparent, timely and efficient manner. The objective will be to ensure that costs in the sector are recovered in a timely manner, the utilities receive a fair return on their investments and consumers pay only for acceptable and efficient operation of the Utilities”.
The party further says it will pursue an aggressive energy conservation and the efficient use of energy, including reduction of transmission losses.
They recalled that In 2007, the NPP government led a nationwide free distribution of 6 million compact fluorescent bulbs to consumers to replace incandescent bulbs, which led to a saving of about 200MW.
“We will implement similar initiatives involving LED bulbs and the introduction of Minimum Energy Performance Standards for electric motors and industrial equipment
The NPP prides itself of the track record in the energy sector, for which, if given the mandate, it will deliver the country out of what it termed as “the current messy energy situation”.
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