General News of Wednesday, 28 May 2014
A Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Energy has advised President John Mahama and Minister of Energy Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah to desist from giving deadlines for ending Ghana's energy crisis.
"For the life of me..I don't understand why the Minister and the President keep on giving times and dates to Ghanaians...only for the goal post to be shifted... If they don't know or are not sure they should just keep quiet and spare us, because it is not good for Ghanaians," a frustrated William Owurako Aidoo fired off on Joy FM's Super Morning Show.
Ghana's power authorities - Electricity Company of Ghana and Volta River Authority - have come under fire after a load management schedule was abandoned - exposing consumers to erratic power supply.
The Volta River Authority has says some faulty power plants are undergoing maintenance which have caused a loss of about 300 megawatts of power. Water levels at Ghana's dams are reported "extremely low".
No one knows when power will be available and this uncertainty is making business a dreadful experience.
The President has not been uncertain in predicting an end to the power crisis. In a bid to assure Ghanaians, the President predicted the crisis would end in May 2014.
The erratic crisis resurrected in 2012 and has been punctuated by occasional reliefs through a load management system.
President John Mahama had indicated that normal supply of power will resume in October 2012, but that was missed. Undeterred, he promised that the power rationing will end by November 2013, but that date too was missed.
Following in footsteps of predictions, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah also stated that the load shedding would end by the first week of May 2014. It has worsened.
The deadlines for the crisis have been missed partly because expectations for getting in gas to power the plants have been repeatedly dashed.
The West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPco) missed its date to supply gas to Ghana by April 30th this year and there is another expectation that Ghana will get its own gas by September 2014.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show, New Patriotic Party MP for Afigya Kwabre South, Wiliam Owuraku Aidoo explained, government is not providing the needed funds to buy light crude for VRA to power Aboadze thermal plants.
Government has already spent nearly half a billion dollars importing light crude for VRA, according to Emmanuel Buah.
The NPP MP has also questioned government's promise to bring in Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to support the country's energy production.
Owuraku Aidoo wondered which kind of fuel government would be providing Independent Power Producers - the expensive light crude or yet-to-arrive Ghana gas.
In an urgent plea, he called on government to "in the short term....get money for VRA to import light crude oil".
It is not known how much is needed to buy light crude oil, but it is known, government needs $4bn to solve Ghana's energy problems for good.
Noting that Ghanaians are wasteful energy consumers, the opposition MP called on the Energy Minister to wage an intensive energy conservation campaign.
He said energy-saving bulbs imported into the country during the tenure of President John Agyekum Kufuor saved Ghana about 200 Megawatts.