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Business News of Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Source: Daily Guide

VRA Bemoans Low Energy Tariffs

The Volta River Authority (VRA) says attracting investment into the country’s electricity generation sector has been difficult because of the prevailing low energy tariffs in Ghana.

According to the authority, its financial position has also weakened, hence its inability to deliver satisfactory services.

Samuel Kwesi Fletcher, Head of Corporate Communications of VRA, who made this known to the media recently during a tour of VRA’s thermal and hydrological generating plants at Tema, Kpone, Akuse and Akosombo at the weekend, said VRA’s financial position has not been healthy because of the increases in crude oil prices.

He noted that government’s indebtedness to VRA due to electricity supply to Ministries, Departments and Agencies MDAs) and the delay in honouring debts were hampering its smooth operations.

Also, he noted that Ghana’s rapid annual electricity growth of about 10 per cent was mostly responsible for the depletion of the country’s power preserve margin. Explaining the foregoing, he said Ghana was battling with power demand and supply differences since demand has overtaken supply.

Additionally, the country’s power system reserve margin was completely depleted. VRA now purchases large quantities of expensive crude oil to generate power owing to the shutdown of the West African Gas Pipeline.

It is as a result of this that VRA, on Friday, announced the closure of two of its units at its Takoradi International Company (TICO) thermal power plant at Aboadze in the Western Region for maintenance. By this, the country will experience a shortfall in power generation by 110MW.

A statement issued by the Corporate Communications Unit of VRA in Accra said Unit SC 2 at the T2 plant would be shut down for combustion inspection works from 00:01 hours on Friday, February 1 to 23.59 hours on Thursday, February 7.

Additionally, it said Unit SC 1 of the plant would also be shut down for Hot Gas Path Inspection from 00:01 hours on Friday, February 8 to 23:59 hours on Sunday, February 24.

The Volta River Authority (VRA), in the latter part of 2012, said it expected to lose about US$20 million due to the inability of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo) to supply gas to it.

WAGPCo supplied VRA with 90,000 British Thermal Units (BTU) of liquefied petroleum gas daily.

VRA’s daily supply in 2011 was 87,000 BTU. It promised more gas but has been unable to deliver.

“We are not getting gas as promised. The supply is still erratic. We are still having problems with the Takoradi Plant.”

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