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General News of Sunday, 12 May 2024



Energy Commission urges govt action amid power outages

Energy Commission Energy Commission

Last December, the Energy Commission issued a stark advisory regarding the recent surge in power outages across the nation, emphasizing the imperative for government investment to uphold consistent gas supplies and stabilize the energy sector. The intermittent blackouts that have plagued various regions over the past month have reignited public frustration and concern, prompting a renewed call for the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to provide a comprehensive blackout timetable to mitigate disruptions.

Many Ghanaians, particularly business owners, have expressed deep worry over the unexpected return of power outages after years of relative stability in the energy sector. The uncertainty surrounding the reliability of electricity supply has raised questions about the root causes of the crisis and the efficacy of current management strategies.

Upon reviewing the Energy Commission's 2024 Energy Outlook for Ghana, published in December 2023, it became evident that the Commission had previously issued warnings about the precariousness of fuel supply to thermal plants, citing it as a significant risk to power supply reliability. The Commission's recommendations underscored the urgent need for the government to prioritize investments in improving gas supply reliability, especially given the country's increasing dependence on natural gas for power generation.

Furthermore, the Commission called for swift action on key infrastructure projects, including the construction of a gas pipeline connecting the Tema and Takoradi power enclaves, and the establishment of a generation enclave in Kumasi. These initiatives were deemed crucial for enhancing the resilience and sustainability of the energy sector in the face of emerging challenges.

The recent power outages have primarily been attributed to insufficient financing for fuel procurement, exacerbated by the failure of the Cash Waterfall Mechanism (CWM) to adequately meet liquidity flows in the value chain. Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, the Finance Minister, disclosed last week that the energy sector was grappling with a financing shortfall of approximately US$1.9 billion, further exacerbating the situation.

In response to mounting pressure, Mr. Herbert Krapa, Board Chairman of ECG, announced that the government had taken immediate measures to address the power supply disruptions. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, April 24, Mr. Krapa assured the public that significant efforts were underway to restore uninterrupted power supply to consumers, citing the commissioning of the Volta River Authority's (VRA) 15MW solar facility in Kaleo as a step in the right direction.

Moreover, the government revealed plans to procure one million revenue-efficient meters through the World Bank's Programme-for-Results (PforR) initiative to enhance revenue mobilization. Additionally, steps were being taken to streamline revenue distribution by consolidating all 61 ECG collection accounts into a single fund, aimed at promoting transparency and accountability within the energy sector.

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