Business News of Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Source: Daily Guide

Power Outage Batters ECG

The on-going load shedding exercise is taking a heavy toll on equipment of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

Robert Dwamena, Director of Procurement at ECG, who disclosed this to CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE, stated that the frequent power outages had weakened most of ECG’s network gadgets such as transformers and switch gears, thereby causing operational changes.

“Our equipment are not designed to be switched on and off like we do currently and this is sometimes responsible for unplanned outages due to unit trips from the generation and transmission sites.”

The irregular power supply, which is expected to end in the first week of December, emerged as a result of a damage caused to the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) by a vessel in August, this year.

WAGP’s gas supplies to Ghana’s Volta River Authority (VRA) are used to generate electricity from its thermal plants.

Mr. Dwamena, who spoke on the sidelines of a news conference organized by the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) in Accra recently, told this paper that the problem had caused its network gadgets to age faster than anticipated.

“Because we are subjecting them to the frequent on and off activities, we are hastening the ageing of these equipment. We therefore need to retire them, which will also affect the availability and quality of electricity supply.”

He said such equipment must be quickly replaced before something untoward happens.

“These assets would require a quick replacement within a very short time. This also has placed a huge financial burden on ECG because we need heavy investment to replace them,” Mr. Dwamena emphasized.

Though he did not disclose when the equipment would be replaced and the financial implication, he added that “immediately the load shedding exercise ends, we would commence the replacement programme.”

In an address, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VRA, Kweku Awotwi, explained that his outfit was aware of the challenges that industries and households were facing as a result of the load shedding programme, and gave the assurance that steps were being taken to quickly address the problem.

“Because of the current challenge, it is expected that the load shedding would end by December should all the additional generation come into service as scheduled,” Mr. Awotwi indicated.