The Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, William Owuraku Aidoo, has asked Ghanaians to be more tolerant with the new government as it seeks to end the erratic power cuts, otherwise known as dumsor, “permanently”.
According to Mr.Owuraku Aidoo, there is no quick-fix to solving the energy crisis and wants Ghanaians to be a bit more patient with the Akufo-Addo-led administration.
“The government inherited not a dumsor-free Ghana but a dumsor Ghana and from what the President stated in his State of the Nation address, he intends to solve this problem permanently. The only thing I will ask of Ghanaians is for us to have patience because the government has been in place barely seven weeks and it is not enough time to solve this rather difficult problem the government inherited.
Fundamentally, the problems with our power sector is all about money. The President alluded to the fact that there is a US$2.4billion debt overhang on the energy sector. This cannot be wished away,” he said.
He urged Ghanaians to give the NPP government space to “allow it to fix the economy, pay all these debt overhangs away, renegotiate where need be and also renegotiate these PPAs.”
For the past three years, the country has been battling with an energy crisis that has crippled industries and made life uncomfortable for many.
The past government made efforts to fix the crisis with the securing of emergency power barges that limited the power rationing regime. But the crisis seem to have resurfaced this year and has led to criticisms from certain quarters.
Hitherto, the former Deputy Minister, John Jinapor had told Parliament that the previous government cannot be blamed for the dumsor, maintaining that they had increased power supply and the new government had no excuses.
Mr. Aidoo, who is also the Member of Parliament for Afigya Kwabre South, stated that three months to the December 7, 2016 elections, the previous government saved up lots of money to prevent dumsor “rearing its ugly head”. “That was very strategic for election purposes,” he said.
“But for the good maneuvering of the President, and his team, we will be in total darkness by now. They came in, saw what they have been left with, and quickly had to put things in place, raising up Letter of Credit (LCs), going to Ivory Coast to get additional 200MV of power to try and solve this problem.”
Current electricity demand for the country stands at about 2,225MW. This is growing by 10 percent per annum and is expected to hit 7,000MW by 2030.
Presently, VRA and other Independent Power Producers (IPPs) together have an installed capacity of 3,644MW.
However, constraints on fuel sources for power generation — crude oil, gas and water for hydro power generation — have necessitated the need for exploring cost-effective, reliable, and clean energy and power sources.
Given the current gas demand of about 450Mscf per day, indigenous gas and limited supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline are unable to meet demand. Available indigenous gas is also expected to run out by 2036, according to energy experts.