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Business News of Thursday, 19 December 2019

Source: GRIDCo

GRIDCo: Shaping the narrative in the sub-region

Chief Executive Officer of GRIDCo, Jonathan Amoako-Baah has revealed that the company wants to be the best company in Africa.

The company has experienced an interesting year; a few topsy-turvy moments, like the recent staff unrest that has been resolved due to a great display of unity between the Management and the Staff groups.

Then there were spots of outages as a result of power swings on the tie line between Ghana and Cote D'Ivoire in late November, which captured news headlines more for the immediate manner in which the engineers fixed the problem.

As the major power transmission company in Ghana, GRIDCo's responsibility is at the heart of the country’s power needs. What it does is integral to everyday life - by serving as the main referee in harnessing power from the Generating companies like VRA, Bui Power Authorities and the IPPs and passing it on to its Bulk Customers and Distribution companies such as Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Northern Electricity Company (NEDCo), VALCo and the Mines. It is an interesting power value chain that exists in the West African country but it is efficient and has for a very long time now not encountered major problems.

Jonathan who assumed the reins of leadership in 2017 and together with a Board led by Ambassador Kabral Blay-Amihere, is focused on delivering value and projecting the image of the company as the backbone to power delivery in Ghana.

In April this year, the company won the Power Service Provider of the Year at the African Power, Energy and Water Industry Awards in Cape Town, South Africa. The award was a clear indication of the company's continued dominance in the power sector in West Africa and its strides across the continent. At the recent Ghana Energy Awards 2019, the company came up for recognition in the power sector for Industry Leadership. These are two of the many accolades showered on the company in 2019 to highlight its efficiency. Jonathan is excited by them but is more focused on the prospects for the company in the coming year.

"Our business requires expediency; a unique sense of urgency and a determination to stay ahead of the game. We oversee a utility that is an integral part of everyday life and we need to be effective and proactive custodians", he says with a look of determination in his eyes. Other projects were also undertaken which highlighted the operational excellence of the company in 2019, including a 225KV connection line that now supplies about 100MW of power to Burkina from Ghana; and the first-ever 161KV gas-insulated sub-station in Ghana.

In recent times GRIDCo has diversified its business portfolio by providing consultancy services to other energy players within the sub-region in order to generate additional revenue. Some of its recent customers include the transmission and distribution companies of Togo and Benin and the transmission company of Nigeria. GRIDCo has also offered services to several Grid participants in Ghana including Bridge Power, Enclave Power and Takoradi International Company Limited (TICO).

This complementary approach to its business is shaping up as the next frontier of growth and progress for the sub-regional power sector. The company is certain that these steps will make it very viable in the short to medium term while positioning it as a market leader.

Jonathan says, “our appreciation of the power of technology to enhance what we do is also crucial to our ability to compete at the high level on the continental, and even, global stage. In line with this, we have, over the last four (4) years, commercialized our telecommunication assets and now provide the most reliable form of fiber communication for telecommunication networks and IT support systems across the country. We will continue to use these approaches to hedge against reductions in our annual revenue, going forward."

Technology continues to dictate the pace of growth in the sector. Complete digitization, a paperless structure and the adoption of machine learning are all features that will soon become mainstay in the industry. GRIDCo seems to be a step ahead in this regard. "Our business model is changing; we are going paperless and rolling out newly digitalized projects. We are building a resilience backbone that reduces power cuts, popularly known as "Dumsor" in Ghana.”

Looking ahead, Jonathan believes the sector has enormous potential to become a major revenue line for government.

"Our focus areas within the next 12 – 18 months are basically around the promotion of electricity integration on the Grid; and ensuring Financial and Technical Sustainability of the Business. I have no doubts in my mind that these attainable areas will inure to the benefit of our company. We are supporting Ghana to achieve Goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals - Affordable, Reliable and Sustainable Energy for all. These will surely set us apart from the competition.