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15.05.2007 Business & Finance

ECG Needs $70m For Energy Supply

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) needs an injection of $70 million, the equivalent of ¢60 billion, each year for the next five years to fix the challenges in the distribution of energy.

The government has meanwhile provided ¢300 billion in the 2007 budget, which is yet to be accessed, for major works that would include the modernisation of sub-stations of the company in Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Ho.

The challenges facing the ECG, such as overloaded transformers and obsolete equipment have compounded the problems of energy distribution, coupled with the declining water level in the Akosombo Dam.

The Managing Director of the ECG, Mr Jude Adu-Amankwah, told the Daily Graphic that the ECG had started the process of accessing funds allocated to the company to improve the system.

“Advertisements have been placed in the dailies inviting bids for the supply of equipment and services,” he said, and explained that “equipment are not on the shelves to be bought, orders have to be placed and it takes time.”

Asked whether some equipment could not be acquired locally, he said the local capacity was not enough to deal with the requirements of the company.

Conductors, cables and transformers of the company have not been changed for a very long time, rendering some of them obsolete and in most cases overloaded, thereby creating problems for ECG's distribution network, Mr Adu-Amankwa said.

He said further that a number of the company's sub-stations had been upgraded but more needed to be done to further upgrade the system.

He said the lack of discipline in the construction of residential and industrial buildings and other structures had also compounded the problems of the company.

In some cases, he said, people had encroached on ECG's sub-stations while others had built haphazardly to such an extent that it was becoming difficult to extend power to some emerging communities, particularly in the cities.

On complaints by some rural communities that they had procured low tension poles but the ECG had not honoured its side of the bargain by supplying energy, Mr Adu-Amankwah said the time had come for the nation to have a more organised way of extending power to rural communities because of resource constraint.

Meanwhile, the Corporate Affairs Manager of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ms Abla Fiadjoe, has said it was untrue that the VRA was running one turbine out of the six of the Akosombo Hydro electric dam.

“This can only be a false rumour, my records show that more than 200 MW was supplied yesterday and one turbine cannot supply more than 140 MW. Definitely we are not running just one,” she told the Daily Graphic.

She said extended hours of blackout had to be assessed on an area by area basis as varied factors gave rise to that.

“Normally we produce energy in excess of demand and the reserve margin caters for shortfalls in the system during production or distribution. Currently the demand and supply margin is very close,” she said.

“That means that any fault that takes away a unit of power, is made up for from elsewhere to prevent a collapse of the system, and that is what is being experienced by some as a revised longer period of loadshedding which is not so,” she explained.

Story by Caroline Boateng