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General News of Monday, 24 March 2014


'Dumsor' to be reduced by 57% in two weeks

Engineers at the Aboadze Power Enclave have assured the nation that in less than two weeks, the 350 megawatts (MW) shortfall in power will be reduced to 150MW.

The engineers working on both Volta River Authority (VRA) and Takoradi International Company (TICO) plants were emphatic that by Wednesday, March 26, 2014 work on 100MW would be completed but the technocrats would require a few days to do test runs.

They were, however, sure that by April 8, 2014 the two units would have come on stream, injecting 200 megawatts (57% of total shortfall) of power onto the national grid.

The country is currently undergoing a regulated blackout regime and hurtful load management program. Government has had to apologise for the great inconvenience to consumers especially after utility tariffs were increased by over 50% last October.

The increase, government promised, would cure recurrent blackouts. But this has not been the case.

A lack of gas supply from Nigeria has caused Ghana's latest round of blackouts, government has explained.

But according to the engineers, the injection of 200MW by April 8 is expected to reduce the impact of the load-shedding regime on consumers.

“We also hope that gas volumes from Nigeria will improve soon and work on Atuabo will be completed to enable us to add another 70MW from T3 and 130MW from units in Tema which are commissioned to run on only gas. The Asogli plant is also expected to operate fully,” they said.

They gave the assurance when they led journalists to tour power installations of the VRA and TICO in Tema in the Greater Accra Region, as well as Aboadze and Atuabo, both in the Western Region, last Saturday.

Explaining the factors which had precipitated the power management exercise, Eng. Richard Badger, the Director of Thermal Energy Generation at the VRA, said the current supply deficit was due to two unexpected activities that happened at the same time.

“Firstly, we have planned maintenance activities on two units of TICO which give 200 megawatts. The two units are supposed to be shut down one after the other for a month each including mandatory seven days' combustion inspection,” he said.

Mr Badger said during the mandatory combustion inspection on January 21,2014, “engineers realised that more damage had occurred, which called for a major dismantling of the plant, and the work associated with it went beyond the estimated time of one month to restore the loss of 100MW".

Before the completion of repairs on the first unit, the mandatory inspection of the second unit, which has a generation capacity of 100MW, was due, he explained.

The inspection resulted in the shutting down of the TICO Unit Two on February 24,2014.

The shutting down of the two units resulted in the loss of 200MW.

The damage to VRA plant prior to the TICO problem, the VRA's unit one, according to Eng. Badger, had an accident on January 10,2014 which damaged its compressor, resulting in the loss of an additional 150MW.