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23.02.2009 General News

ECG to halt power outages with $194m

ECG to halt power outages with $194m


The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has embarked on a $194 million expansion project to halt the incessant power outages that affect consumers in the southern sector of the country.

The project, which has already started, involves the addition of more sub-stations to ease the pressure and load on the existing ones, the construction of another bulk supply point, the upgrading of existing lines to take heavy loads, among others.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr .Jude Adu-Amankwah, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, said the company had secured $94 million from the Ghana Energy Development Access Programme (GEDAP), which is a World Bank project, and $100 million from the government, while the ECG was using suppliers' credit to raise additional capital to complete the project.

He said the move was meant to bring an end to the frequent power outages in the major towns within the next 12 months.

The company requires more than $990 million to fully replace some of its existing equipment and upgrade some of them to be able to guarantee uninterrupted power supply but the managing director is confident of raising the amount, with the support of the government and donor agencies, as well as funds from its internally generated resources, to rectify other anomalies in the system.

Mr Adu-Arriankwah said the growth in demand for power in the major towns was between eight and 10 per cent but physical expansion had not kept pace with the phenomenon, thereby resulting in serious overload of the existing facilities.

He said while the project was ongoing, the outages would continue and pleaded with consumers to bear with the company to ensure its successful implementation.

He said given the difficulties within the system, an automatic facility had been installed at the Mallam sub-station to ensure that the power went off automatically immediately there were challenges to avoid a total systems collapse.

He said there were moments when Cote d'Ivoire drew power from the system and that also created outages as the system reacted to such situations.

Mr Adu-Amankwah said the major supply station at Achimota, which the company referred to as Station H, was heavily overloaded and that brought a lot of challenges, as demand far exceeded supply, hence the trip offs.

He said there were frantic efforts to upgrade the station and indicated that those who were served on it would be inconvenienced as they would be shifted to the Mallam supply point to allow work to proceed.

On the probability of tariff increases, he said, "We are not yet there because the support from the government and our intensified debt collection programme are helping us and, therefore, we do not need any increases yet.”

Mr Adu-tunankwah said the present losses of the company stood at 24 per cent and explained that efforts were being made to reduce it, as each percentage loss affected the company.

He said the company was not doing badly with the settlement of its indebtedness to the Volta River Authority (VRA).

He mentioned efforts to improve revenue collection and reduce theft in the system; saying, "We are going to introduce prepaid meters known as the shift type."

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