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13.04.2007 General News

Emergency generators guzzle ¢2.8bn fuel a day

By myjoyonline

Thirty-eight generators brought into the country to augment power supply start full operation this weekend.

The Volta River Authority (VRA) says the generators at the Tema Emergency Power Plant need about ¢2.8 billion worth of diesel a day to operate.

The low water level of the Akosombo dam, the main source of hydro power in Ghana, has created a shortage estimated at about 600 Mega Watts.

The generators are suppose to produce a total of 50 Mega Watts of electricity but since they came on stream early this month the average production is been about 25 Mega Watts.

The Coordinator of the Emergency Power Programme, Mr Francis Dzata, said initial hiccups account for the low power generation.

“Partly due to our fuel, switches and some mechanical problems. But there has been no major problem…Everybody in Ghana knows that the fuel in Ghana is very dirty. The only thing we do is to put filtrations to clean it. Some of the pumps because the filters just clog up if you do not see it in time the pump would cease and would burn the motor….in stead of using transfer pumps we might have to feed directly from the tank… so as we are going along we are solving the little problems,” he said.

Joy News learnt that the diesel power generators are running at great cost to the nation. Mr Dzata disclosed that one generator guzzles some 84 gallons of fuel every hour at the cost of ¢2.76 billion a day when all 38 generators are in full gear.

He said this works out to about 24 US cents per kilowatt hour just about twice the cost of thermal power generation and 12 times what it costs to produce power at the Akosombo damn.

Mr Dzata said this supports the argument for electricity consumers to pay more. He disclosed that more of such plants are on their way into the country to further ease the current power crisis Ghana is facing.

“We are going to put 20 Mega Watts in Kumasi hopefully by the end of this month. We have also had 20 Mega Watts we are going to send to another site in Tema where we call New Tema site. The machines are in the country at the moment and we are doing the concrete base. Hopefully third week of April it should come on. By April ending we are sure of 70 Mega Watts,” he revealed.

VRA officials say the emergency plants have helped reduce the burden on the Akosombo although the 50 Mega Watts generated is a far cry from the 600 Mega Watts needed to end the ongoing power rationing exercise.

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