Akosombo Dam in critical stage – Energy Minister

Akosombo DamMr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, has said Akosombo Dam was in a critical stage due to low volumes of water flowing into it this year.

He said this was due to the poor rainfall pattern and it would likely affect electricity supply.

Mr Buah, who was speaking to journalists in Tamale, said unless something critical happened the country would face a serious energy problem in 2015 and 2016.

The Minister, in Tamale as part of a three-day tour to inspect on-going rural electrification projects in the three northern regions, stressed the need for power supply and distribution companies to adopt the most cost-effective means to generate energy, including thermal and solar, while government and the citizenry used  electricity responsibly to reduce the burden.

He said there was also the need for private energy producers to invest in the sector to salvage the situation.

Mr Buah directed the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) to cut-off government departments and MMDAs that failed to pay electricity bills, saying, “All departments and MMDAs must be connected to the pre-paid meters to ensure that they use energy responsibly”.

He said all government departments, ministries, institutions and agencies must find realistic source of funding to pay their electricity bills and that the country must adopt measures towards moving to  realistic tariffs for everybody in order to meet the critical demand of the nation.

Mr Buah said all government agencies had annual budgets and part of their budgets included expenditure for utilities, adding they must use such funds to pay for the electricity they consume.

On the directive from the President to Ministers to pay electricity, Mr Buah said a team had been put in place to ensure compliance and that the process had already started.

He said the northern part of the country had low electrification and the need to expand energy to all parts of the area was very critical.

Mr Buah urged all state institutions that are into the energy sector to work in tandem to address the challenging times, adding that “On Thursday, we will be launching a new initiative in Garu in the Upper East Region to promote the use of LPG as alternative source of energy for rural dwellers”.

Mr John Nuworkla, Managing Director for NEDCO, said the Organization started operations in 1997 but became autonomous in May 2012 with a customer base of 500,000.

He said it is saddled with many problems making its running quite inefficient,   mentioning financial, human resource, logistical and non-payment of bills by state institutions as some of the major challenges facing the company despite the fact that it supplies 64 per cent of the energy needs of the geographical area.

Mr Nuworkla said NEDCO has adopted a strategic plan from 2012 to 2017, and needed a colossal amount of $208,719,747 to retool its aging equipment.

Source: GNA

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