The Minister for Energy, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom has disclosed that, the Government has secured an amount of 15 million US dollars from the World Bank to meet critical investments needed to improve the network of ECG.
The Energy Minister said this in Accra today during the weekly meet the press series held at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information. The meeting was necessitated by the need to communicate with the members of the media on two topics of critical national importance; the petroleum product availability and pricing; and the current power situation particularly in the Accra-Tema area.
Dr Nduom said, the 15 million dollars will be applied over the next year to projects aimed at improving quality of service (customer care), reliability of power supply and revenue cycle management in Accra, Tema and Kumasi. He hinted that, the Government is in the process of securing an additional 30 million dollars this year to meet the short-term needs of the network.
Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom said his Ministry is aware of the management problems at ECG which are being addressed as part of the Ministry's on-going Power Sector Reform. He said the crux of the difficulties in the distribution system is the continued operation of old, obsolete, antiquated and overloaded equipment. The Minister added that, ECG continues to operate a network that has not seen any major change rehabilitation in the last 20-30 years; some parts since 1960s.
The Minister for Energy said, regarding the current power situation in Accra-Tema, the ECG management is carrying out a number of projects to regularize the power delivery situation. This includes an overhead transmission line from Achimota to Burma Camp and also the upgrading of the Burma Camp substation with bigger transformers.
The Minister stated that, an analysis of product consumption from January 2000 to December 2003 results indicated that the consumption of gas oil has increased rapidly from 48% to 52% in the product mix while at the same time the consumption of premium gasoline has declined from 44% to 39% in the product mix.
Dr Nduom said, his Ministry does not believe that the change in the product mix is normal but rather suspect an increase in the illegal transportation of gas oil in particular to the neighbouring countries. He said since gas oil (diesel) sells at ¢ 17,500 per gallon and the same product sells between ¢ 22,670 and ¢ 27,443, in Togo it gives smugglers the chance to sell to these our close neighbours for profit.
The Minister said, this situation is one factor that makes it necessary for the Ministry to weigh the current situation carefully before any decision are made about price adjustment.