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General News of Thursday, 16 October 2014

Source: The Ghanaian Times

PURC summons meeting over worsening energy crisis

An emergency crisis meeting is to be held today by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to dis­cuss the worsening power cri­sis facing the country.

The meeting is expected to be attended by officials of the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCO) and independent power providers, among others.

The crisis meeting is being called follow­ing the near collapse of the electric power system in the country within the last four days.

According to Mr. William Boateng, Public Relations Manager of ECG, all the stake­holders have been invited to discuss the worsening power crisis in the last four days.

The country has in the last four days experienced the worst power crisis in recent times, following which ECG was forced to shed between 520 and 600 megawatts representing one-third of the entire power generated by the country for distribution.

As a result of the acute shortage, ECG has abandoned its load shedding schedule, which has thrown many parts of the country into darkness for days.

The situation led to a major blackout across the country on Tuesday. The hardest hit were health facilities and industrial centres throughout the country.

In a related development, activities at the emergency theatres at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital came to a halt yesterday due to power outage.

The Cardiothoracic Centre, Accident Centre, Neurological Unit, among other theatres, were forced to cancel all major surgeries.

A medical officer at the hospital told The Ghanaian Times on condition of anonymity that the only available plant was used to power the Dialysis Unit at the Cardiothoracic Centre.

The medical officer described the situation as very appalling, adding that, the emergency centres had to cancel major surgeries that last long hours in order not to put the life of any patient at risk.

“Some of the surgeries take between five and nine hours. They had to cancel the surgeries because they did not want a situation where power would be disrupted. It would put the patients’ lives at risk,” the source said.

According to the medical officer, the hospital is in dire need of basic facilities like generators and water.

A frustrated patient who visited the Cardio Pharmacy to buy medicine was turned away because the pharmacists could not get access to their system to assist the patient.

The Public Relations Officer, Mustapha Salifu, could neither confirm nor deny the allegations when contacted on phone.

He said he was unaware of any power outage at the hospital.

When The Ghanaian Times later visited the hospital in the afternoon, power had been restored, but all major surgeries scheduled for yesterday were cancelled.

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