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19.04.2007 Business & Finance

Levelling Energy Market

So long as the energy problem persists and the load-shedding exercise continues to affect industry and individuals, the public will be interested in knowing whatever is being done to bring the situation to normalcy.

Yesterday, the public was informed that a committee, under the chairmanship of Professor Daniel Adzei-Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State, is to work out a road map towards building a nuclear power plant in the country.

Before that information was made public, there was the piece of news about the split of the Volta River Authority (VRA) — the institution whose primary responsibility is to generate power — is to be limited to that core business.

The move is to provide a level playing field for independent power producers (IPPs) so that there will be fair competition in the service delivered to consumers.

Competition has the tendency to bring about efficiency and also the option to choose one service provider or another.

As a nation, we have had a classic example in the telephony industry where an increase in the number of network operators has given the public the freedom to sign up with one network operator or another.

Information has it that the idea of setting up a firm to deal with IPPs has been on the drawing board under the power sector reform.

It is a fact that many IPPs have attempted to invest in the venture here but they have not been comfortable with the situation where the VRA generates and distributes power at the same time.

Their concern has been that the VRA has a particular interest, it cannot therefore be a player and a referee at the same time.

It is our wish that whatever must be done to salvage the country from the energy mess would be done and done well.

Consequently, it is our prayer that the new company which has been formed has gone through all the processes required to make it a solid firm. This is because we do not want a replay of what happened with the Ghana International Airlines.

The new company must be firm and fair and allow genuine IPPs to invest in the production of electric power here.

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention and we are of the belief that the concern shown by the government towards the power situation has prompted the setting up of the new company.

Perhaps if we had not been confronted with the prevailing power problem, the formation of the company would have taken another decade or two.

At this point in our nation's history, we think it is important to remind the National Development Planning Commission to be proactive in the implementation of some of the good plans which are on the shelves gathering dust.

We have many good policies which need to be implemented but sometimes it seems we lack the courage to carry them out, in the process making the country and its people the ultimate losers.