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General News of Thursday, 16 July 2015


Shortfall in gas supply cause of 'dumsor' - VRA

The Volta River Authority (VRA) has attributed the recent shortfall in power supply to challenges with gas flow from the Atuabo gas plant.

“We are having challenges with gas flow from Atuabo,” the Head of Corporate Communications at Volta River Authority, Sam Fletcher said on the Citi Breakfast Show.

The power crisis has worsened over the past few weeks.Consequently, the initial load-shedding timetable designed to shed between 300MW and 400MW of power and allowed consumers to enjoy 24 hours off after 12 hours of power is no longer being followed.

Mr. Fletcher pointed out that though the water levels in Akosombo have partly contributed to the low power supply, “we need to try and separate Akosombo from the gas problems.”

“Akosombo has been running four units and is still doing four units, but thermal challenges that we are having has to do with gas,” he further explained.

The Electrcity Company of Ghana (ECG) has said it is currently not following any timetable because the quantum of power it receives from source is not consistent.

Commenting on the development, Mr. Fletcher said he is unable to explain why the ECG cannot give Ghanaians a schedule.

“Unfortunately I don’t. We understand that we all have our remit when it comes to discussing matters. I can only discuss matters in relation to generation and possibly gas supply but definitely not distribution.”

He said though some plants are running on crude and not necessarily gas, there are other machines that are “configured only to run on gas and when there is no gas they just have to sit.”

“Those that are running on crude are running, but I have also made this statement over and over again that besides the cost of production of running on crude, you also have a lot of challenges when you run on crude in the sense that, that kind of fuel is heavier than the usual gas. “

“When you run on gas, your machines perform better than when you run on crude oil and also quite a number of challenges; crude oil is heavy, it has some metals in it and all that etc. so if we had our way and if we have gas available 24/7 we will be running on gas, but those machines that are configured to run on crude oil are running on crude oil.”

Although the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was not able to confirm when the situation will improve, he was optimistic the challenge will be resolved soon.

“I am asking the same question. We are coping, we are praying that it will not take that long. We know that it was not supposed to take that long but a few other issues I hear came up and all that we are hoping and praying for is that this will not take too long to resolve so that we get back,” said Mr. Fletcher.

“…If you have a challenge like a cut in the supply of gas it is a big challenge for the generation companies, and therefore we hope that very soon we will hear good news…” he added.

Mr. Fletcher said the VRA is still monitoring to “see when exactly there is a rise in the water level” in the Akosombo dam.

According to him, “the little improvement seen is that the rate of drop of water has reduced. “

“We were dropping at about .05, .06 some time ago and today we are dropping at a rate between .01 and .03 which is an indication that some water is gradually coming into the lake. We are monitoring to see when it levels out then it starts rising so that is the story of Akosombo.”