Emmanuel Boakye Agyarko, Energy Minister
The Ministry of Energy has announced that the power supply hitches that led to power outages in certain parts of the country recently have been addressed.
A press release issued yesterday in Accra and signed by King A. Wellington, Communications Officer at the Energy Ministry, mentioned that the power problem had been addressed following the completion of maintenance works on the Ghana Gas plants and also the connection and commissioning of the gas supply system from the TEN fields to the Atuabo Processing Plant.
It said the schedule for the completion of the work, which was originally slated from 3-20 February, this year, had to be extended to February 26th due to certain operational difficulties experienced by Tullow Oil, operators of the field.
“The tie-in of the TEN-gas FPSO necessitated the shutdown of the gas processing plant and consequently led to the curtailment of natural gas at the Aboadze Power Enclave with the shutdown of the Ameri Energy power plant (230 megawatt). Furthermore, the entire Takoradi Thermal Power Plant (TAPCo of 330 megawatt) and two-thirds of the capacity of Takoradi International Power plant (TICO 220 megawatt) were shutdown and have remained so due to manufacturer-warranted major maintenance work.
“It became necessary to protect the plants from long-term operational failures. Of all the power plants in the Aboadze enclave, only TICO was available with 110 megawatt of generation. Fuel stocks for the operation of thermal power plants in Tema had run out in the second week of January 2017 due to financial challenges. The combination of these factors effectively created conditions for the return of the ‘Dumsor.”
The ministry revealed that government took the necessary steps to prevent the return to ‘dumsor’ by procuring Light Crude Oil (LCO) and diesel to operate the power plants, which hitherto were not being operated due to lack of fuel.
Additionally, it said to safeguard the integrity of the national transmission system and to reduce the possibility of grid instability during the period, government sent a delegation to Cote d’Ivoire, which successfully negotiated an increase in power supply despite Ghana’s indebtedness of about $60 million to that country at the end of December 2016.
“We wish to state that with the tie-in operation successfully completed, and coupled with the measures we put in place, including procurement of fuel and increased power supply from Cote d’Ivoire, the situation will normalize from 27th February 2017.”
No generation challenges
With regard to the power disruptions over the last three days, we note that this was not related to a deficit in generation but due to faults triggered by the severe rainstorm that hit parts of the country, particularly the Greater Accra, Ashanti Regions and parts of the Central Region from 25-26 February 2017.
“The ECG is in the process of restoring power to those who may have unfortunately been affected by the outages. We wish to assure the public that essential infrastructural works such as the connection of the TEN fields to the Atoabo gas processing plant will always be carried out in a prudent, safe and efficient manner. Nevertheless, there is always the risk of operational challenges which may temporarily affect power supply. These works are however necessary to move the nation from the state of ‘dumsor’ to a steady state where we can be assured of a constant supply of electricity.
“We wish to further state that ‘dumsor’ did not end with the election of a new government. Even though we have adequate installed generation capacity, only half is available due to various technical and financial challenges. Government is determined to address these challenges. However, during this period, it will continue to face an occasional temporary setback until we move to a more sustainable state of uninterrupted power supply.”
It emphasised that government would give customers regular operational updates to ensure transparency, as well as provide assurances of how effectively it is addressing the problems in the sector.
“Finally government is working hard to address the financial challenges that led to a net debt of $2.4 billion in the power sector to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel, infrastructure upgrade and reliable power supply.”