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29.05.2007 General News

Bear With Us, Says ECG

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has attributed its inability to distribute power to all consumers to inadequate power supply from the Volta River Authority (VRA).

It explained that the ECG could only distribute what was made available to it by the VRA and that where there was power shortage, it was compelled to “drop load”.

“The situation is further exacerbated by the occasional but now increasing request by the VRA for the ECG to drop load as and when the VRA experienced operational difficulties in its thermal generation,” the Managing Director of the ECG, Mr Jude Adu-Amankwah, said in an interview in Accra yesterday.

Mr Adu-Amankwah further explained that the unannounced interruptions were usually emergency measures the ECG had to take, for which reason the company could not give prior notice to consumers.

He was reacting to growing public disillusionment with prolonged periods of power outages facing the country.

He said following the load-shedding exercise which began in August last year, the situation had changed for the worst since April this year.

“Against the advertised schedule, some people have remained in darkness longer than 12 hours without adequate explanation from the service providers, the ECG and the VRA,” he said, adding that “calls on both the ECG and the VRA to explain the additional unannounced load-shedding had mainly gone unanswered”.

He noted that while the problem had persisted, the “situation had arisen out of unfortunate but pressing circumstances occasioned by the current energy supply situation”.

In a brief background to the situation, Mr Adu-Amankwah said in an attempt to save the Akosombo Dam following the introduction of the load-shedding schedule, the VRA decided to generate power with only two turbines at Akosombo, while running the Aboadze thermal plant flat-out to complement Akosombo's generation.

“The decision to run only two turbines in Akosombo has resulted in a shortfall of 60 megawatts of power during the peak hours of 6.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.,” he said, and added that “this shortfall means that the ECG cannot supply all customers as per the advertised load-shedding schedule”.

Mr Adu-Amankwah said consequently, some consumers who had been slated to come back at 6.00 p.m., after being off for 12 hours, were delayed for a further three-hour period.

He indicated that the company was making frantic efforts to resolve the problem but admitted that it was faced with the difficulty of determining in advance who would be affected by the three-hour delay.

He said when the ECG was requested to drop load, sometimes as much as 110 megawatts, the company had no option but to comply, thereby distorting the load-shedding schedule to a wide area.

Mr Adu-Amankwah acknowledged the inordinate interruption of power supply to the western corridor and some parts of Accra East.

He contiuned that for the past three months problems in areas such as Dansoman, Odorkor, Sakaman, Weija, Sowutuom, Mataheko, Darkuman, Fadama, Lapaz, Tabora, Akweteman, MacCarthy Hills, Gbawe, Bortianor and beyond, East Legon, Adenta, Legon had been due to the installation of Automatic Frequency Load-shedding (AFLS) equipment at the company's Mallam and Achimota Bulk Supply Points (BSPs).

“This equipment is designed to also save system collapse where the frequency of the supply is compromised by shutting down or tripping automatically; this also translates into outages suffered by our clients in the areas which have been enumerated,” he pointed out.

He called on consumers to bear with the company in its moment of distress and also appealed to the public to report all incidents of theft of conductors and cables by unscrupulous thieves which had a bearing on the period customers stayed without power supply.

Story by Hilda Owusu