Ivory Coast to supply Ghana power to augment local supply

The Volta River Authority (VRA) has reached an agreement with Cote d’Ivoire for the supply of 50 megawatts of electricity to Ghana under the West Africa Power Pool project, to augment the shortfall in electricity supply in the country.

The measure is part of several other contingency interventions including reducing power supplies to Togo and Benin to contain the energy crisis that has hit the country.

Officials of the three power production and distribution companies — VRA, Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) – are hoping the measures will help contain the situation until problems with gas supplies from the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) are resolved.

Currently the country supplies some 70 megawatts to the two countries under bilateral arrangements supported by the Bretton Woods institutions since the 1970s.

These and other measures including a nearcompletion of planned maintenance in Takoradi and the ongoing load shedding exercise which schedules were expected to be published by the ECG on Tuesday are contingency measures.

The country is experiencing a shortfall in power production and distribution as a result of a cut in supply of gas from WAPCo.

The pipeline, according to WAPCo, had experienced a loss of pressure around the Lome, Togo segment after it was damaged by the anchor of an unidentified vessel.

This is not the first time the country has had to resort to load shedding as a result of problems with gas supply from WAPCo.

Earlier in the year, gas supply was cut as a result of poor quality of gas from WAPCo.

The technical challenges have affected the supply of gas to the VRA and caused a shutdown of the Sunon Asogli Power Plant which runs solely on gas and adds 200 megawatts to the country’s energy stock.

To keep the system running in the face of the deficit created by the shutdown of the Asogli Plant and a planned maintenance programme which has denied the system of 100 megawatts from a plant in Takoradi, GRIDCo has directed the ECG to cut down supplies by 300 megawatts during peak hours that is between 6 am and 6 pm and 100 megawatts during off peak hours 6 pm to 6 am.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, the ECG acting Managing Director, Mr William Hutton-Mensah, said the company was giving

topmost priority to industry to ensure that its operations were not adversely affected by the load-shedding exercise.

“We want to alleviate plight in terms of supplies to industry. The assurance is that there would be minimum effects on them in terms of power supply to them. As much as we can, we would like to avoid putting off industries.”

Explaining the cause of the crisis and measures being taken to ensure the flow of gas, the Deputy Chief Executive of the VRA in charge of Services, Mr Maxwell E.Y. Odoom, said a ship from Gabon was on its way to Lome to inspect and deal with the situation.

Although he could not immediately give the exact period the problem would be resolved, he gave an assurance that the vessel would arrive in 24 hours’ time but its ability to deal with the repairs was dependent on the extent of damage.

He discredited the assertion that the situation was an act of sabotage, saying “it is not VRA equipment that has a problem and therefore, could not supply gas for use of the VRA”.

He said the current situation would cost the country between $40 million and $45 million dollars per month but gave an assurance that the cost would not be transferred to consumers.

Ideally, the country needs some 1,700 megawatts to satisfy the entire country and extra 300 in reserves but the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), Mr Charles Darku, said the growth in load and consumption had not met the level of investment, thereby resulting in the country eating deep into its ideal 300 megawatts reserve which would have saved the current situation.

“The load or consumption has grown rapidly ahead of generation and our reserves are tight,” he said.

He said the current problem would be averted if gas supply was restored to the Asogli plant.

Source: Daily Graphic

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