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22.04.2008 General News

Distraught electricity consumers chide official excuses

By myjoyonline
Distraught electricity consumers chide official excuses
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Listen to Mr. James Ofedie, CEO of VRA

Callers into Joy FM's Super Morning Show and Adom FM's Dwaso Nsem programmes this morning have been distraught at explanations offered for a widespread power outage on Monday that has continued through Tuesday.

Officials of the Volta River Authority (VRA), and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) put up a 'transmission failure' as the cause of the nationwide disruption that is continuing in parts of Accra and Tema as well as parts of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

However, caller after caller into the two programmes said they are tired of the excuses and asked managements of the two institutions to improve their supervision of the shoddy services or fire non-performing staff.

For many of the callers, it is the failure of the management systems to properly demand productivity of staff that has led to the persistent failure and its attendant 'excuses'. For some others, heads must simply roll to ensure efficiency.

The Public Relations Officer of the ECG, Madam Gloria Dua Sakyi had told Joy FM's Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah on the Super Morning Show, that her company's failure to supply power to the affected areas was due to a lack of supply from the VRA.

She said the VRA had problems with a major transmission line and that officials were working round the clock to restore transmission and hopefully by close of day, it should be restored. She said some of the areas had already been restored to regular supply.

“You know they generate and then they transmit and then we do the distribution which comes to you, the customers. So in the line of transmitting the power to us there was a problem with a line between Accra and Tema and it created a lot of problems but I think they've come around it and we are all working together very hard to put the pieces together.”

The Chief Executive Officer of VRA, Mr. James Ofedie, who also spoke on the same programme, said the transmission failure initially on a major line that serves several towns from Akosombo to Tafo and then to Kumasi and several other parts in northern Ghana, was the genesis of the national blackout.

He said the faulted line led to the overloading of the other lines that could have done the job, and they also 'gave way somehow'. That resulted in an initial blackout in many areas.

“Then later in the day around 11am, we had another problem at our Achimota sub-station, what we call a waves trap…an integral part of the transmission system. It got broken and also damaged the transmission line at Achimota and you know between Achimota and Tema is a major load centre. So when this line went down we had problems meeting the demand in full. We were left with two lines…, unfortunately one of the two also got faulted and went down. We were left with only one line running between Achimota and Tema and that proves a major challenge to the supplier of the system and led to massive load shedding in Accra. In the process of trying to restore the load, the entire system, the generating system failed because of the disturbances, the periodic disturbances during the restoration process the generating unit had to shut down automatically to avoid damage to the unit. So this led to the blackout in the entire country for a couple of minutes, maybe about 50 minutes…”

He said inspection of lines and restoration works were continuing through the morning and expressed the hope that work would be completed in good time. He said even though wide-spread failures that caused the black-out are rare, they are not entirely impossible.

Ms Abla Fiajoe, Public Relations Officer of the VRA, told Ekuorba Gyasi on Adom FM that a thorough investigation of the operating systems would be undertaken today to unearth the problems and added that even though the authority performs regular maintenance to ensure efficiency, occasional breakdowns can be expected from time to time.

She also admitted the power outage affected several parts of the country and expressed hope all those affected would be restored by close of day.

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