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General News of Friday, 9 November 2012

Source: Daily Guide

End of load shedding postponed again

Ghanaians will have to wait a little longer as the ongoing load shedding programme which was scheduled to end in November this year has been extended to the first week in December.

Last week Minister of Energy, Dr. Joe Oteng-Adjei, announced at a news conference in Accra that the off-peak load shedding exercise which occurs 6am to 6pm, would end on Monday November 5, 2012 as a result of the completion of additional generation projects.

The peak time outage, which lasts from 6pm to 11pm, was also expected to end on November 30, 2012.

But this cannot materialize as the Volta River Authority is facing crude oil supply challenges from its supplier in Nigeria.

Ghanaians have for the past months experienced irregular power supply due to damaged caused to the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) by a vessel in August this year.

WAGP supplies gas to some thermal plants to generate electricity.

However, Chief Executive Officer of VRA, Kweku Awortwi, explained that because of the current challenge “it is expected that the current load shedding would end by December should all additional generation come into service”.

The additional generation projects are steam turbine unit for Takoradi I Thermal plant, Tema Cenit Thermal Power Plant (TCTPP) owned by CENIT Energy, a subsidiary of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and two gas turbines for the Takoradi 3 thermal project.

Mr. Awotwi further stated that supply of crude to support CENIT project would delay, hence the extension of the end of the load shedding programme.

He noted that “the date for the end of load shedding was given based on the assumption the crude oil would be in constant supply. But we all got to know three days ago that crude oil from Nigeria will not be supplied by November 15, 2012 as expected”.

He said the cost of importing crude oil was negatively affecting the Authority explaining that now crude oil is supplied every 20 days instead of the former three month period.

Also, it costs about $50 million to take delivery of one consignment.

Giving an update on the current generation status, Mr. Awotwi stated said all six units in Aksombo and four thermal units in Aboadze are all running at full allowed capacity.

He added that the steam turbine in Aboadze was also running with 50 megawatts (mw) full capacity.

He further noted that there is sufficient crude oil to run the plants in Aboadze, and once CENIT receives its own parcel of crude oil it can run base load at 100 mw.

He gave the assurance that “gas supply from Nigeria is expected to be restored by December so that Sunon Asogli shall begin to generate bringing in 170 megawatts.”

The news conference was organized in collaboration with Ghana Grid Company (GridCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

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