Energy Commission issued advisory on recent power interruptions in 2023

The Energy Commission last December issued an advisory about the irregular power outages that have occurred this year and emphasised the need for the government to make investments to maintain reliable gas supplies.

Over the last month, there have been occasional power outages around the country, prompting a renewed call on the electricity distributor, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to issue a blackout timetable.

Many Ghanaians, particularly businesses, have expressed worry over how the country ended up in the dilemma after stabilising the sector for years.

However, a review by the Ghana News Agency of the Commission’s 2024 Energy Outlook for Ghana, which was published in December 2023, revealed that an advisory had been issued about the situation.

“Security and adequacy of fuel supply to thermal plants remain the single most important risk to power supply reliability in the country,” the Commission noted.

“Government should make necessary investments towards improved gas supply reliability owing to the increasing dependency on natural gas for power generation,” it recommended.

The Commission also asked the government to expedite action on the proposed construction of a gas pipeline connecting the Tema and Takoradi power enclaves, as well as the establishment of a generation enclave in Kumasi.

It also called for measures to increase hydro generation above the allocated limit to mitigate any short-term gas supply challenges.

The recent power outages across the country have been attributed mostly to insufficient financing for fuel procurement, as the Cash Waterfall Mechanism (CWM) has also failed to meet liquidity flows in the value chain.

Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, the finance minister, said last week that the energy sector has a financing shortfall of about US$1.9 billion and assured investors that Ghana had positioned the sector for profitability.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) also reported that ECG collects an average of GH¢850 million monthly, instead of the required GH¢1.9 billion.

Among other things, the report forecast that in 2024, grid-connected power generation capacity would reach 5,194 MW, with a total dependable capacity of 4,756 MW for electricity generation.

However, the report stated that due to scheduled maintenance for planned units and the fuel supply situation, up to 4,400 MW of total dependable capacity was expected to be consumed.

That is to meet the projected system peak demand of 3,788 MW while maintaining a reserve margin of 16 per cent, which is lower than the minimum reserve margin requirement of 18 per cent.

The report concluded that natural gas, both domestically and imported, was projected to be the primary fuel for thermal power plants, with a total consumption of 137.5 TBtu forecast for the year.

In a recent development, Mr Herbert Krapa, Board Chairman, ECG, announced that the government had taken immediate measures to “ensure the return of uninterrupted supply of power to consumers.”

He said so in a Facebook post on Wednesday, April 24, following the commissioning of the Volta River Authority’s (VRA) 15MW solar facility in Kaleo, adding, “We’re fixing it, and we’re nearly there.”

The government also plans to buy one million revenue-efficient meters through the World Bank’s Programme-for-Results (PforR) initiative to boost revenue mobilization.

The government has also taken steps to merge all 61 ECG collection accounts into a single fund to promote transparency and accountability and streamline the distribution of revenue to value chain players.

Source: GNA

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