Industries are now to enjoy six days of continued power supply and suffer two days of power outage, including Sundays, under a new load-shedding schedule released by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
The ECG announced the new load schedule in Accra yesterday after holding consultative meetings with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), the Ghana Chamber of Mines and other stakeholders.
Under the new schedule, residential areas will have 24 hours of power supply and 12 hours of power outage, while the Chamber of Mines and steel industries have agreed to reduce the power they use by 25 per cent.
However, essential service providers remain exempted.
Briefing the press in Accra, the Director of Operations at the ECG, Mr Tetteh Okyne, said the consultations, which culminated in the new schedule, were held to ensure the power supply system followed a specified schedule to enable people to plan their activities.
He said a few weeks ago, the load-shedding regime was very erratic, a situation which, he acknowledged, impacted negatively on individuals and industry.
The new schedule, which will remain in force till the end of December, would be closely monitored by the committee, which comprises the various stakeholders, he added.
Even though the load-shedding would continue during the Christmas festivities, Mr Okyne said most industries would go on break during the festive period, adding that should that happen, those in the residential areas would enjoy the windfall from the load-shedding.
He said the committee would meet every week to assess reports on the schedule and make any necessary adjustments.
He added that the AGI had disclosed at the meeting that about 80 per cent of its members were in residential areas and indicated that although that made it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of an industry within a residential area, the output from the ECG’s feeders enabled it to distinguish a purely residential area from one that had industries located within it.
He expressed optimism that the new regime would be respected by everyone, based on the agreement with the stakeholders.
He, however, warned that non-compliance by any industrial actor would result in that industry being cut off completely.
But he indicated that based on consultations the ECG had had with players in the past, he had little doubt that they would do anything to the contrary.
Ghanaians have had to endure unstable power supply since 2012 as a result of the low water level in the Akosombo and the Bui dams, inadequate gas supply from Nigeria and the shutdown of power generators for maintenance works.
The load-shedding exercise has adversely affected industries, small-scale businesses and individuals, resulting in some companies shutting down.
On some occasions, the ECG prepared a schedule for load-shedding but failed to abide by it, thereby making power supply very erratic.
The latest move by the ECG to consult major stakeholders is a progressive step in its attempt to stick to its load-shedding programme.
Meanwhile, a special arrangement has been made between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for the public universities to benefit from the limited load-shedding, reports Albert Salia.
The institutions are the University of Ghana, Legon; the University of Education, Winneba; the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi; the University of Cape Coast and the University for Development Studies.
The rest are the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), the University of Professional Studies, Accra, the University of Mines and Technology, the University of Energy and Natural Resources, the University of Health and Allied Sciences and the Ghana Institute of Journalism.
It is estimated that there are 135,000 students in the public tertiary universities in the country.
A Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Sam Okudjeto Ablakwa, who disclosed this in an interview, said the exercise would be extended to the polytechnics and the private universities when their examinations were due.
He also said the Control Room of the ECG had been duly informed.
He explained that even when a power cut was necessary, it would be done during the day and restored in the evening to enable the students to study at night.