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General News | Jun 23, 2004

Reconstitute VRA - Energy Commission

THE STATESMAN

The Energy Commission has proposed to the government to, as a matter of urgency, reconstitute the Volta River Authority (VRA) into an independent state-owned entity to run the country's hydro electric plants, manage the Volta Lake and secure the integrity of the Akosombo dam. This, the commission would help revamp the country's power industry and help the VRA meet the high demands for power by the year 2012.

The executive secretary of the commission, Kofi Asante made this proposal when he addressed a two-day seminar on power sector reforms in Accra yesterday. According to Asante, it was estimated that by the year 2012, Ghana's power needs would have increased by 64 percent. He said in order to meet this demand, there must be a new VRA which should be a completely independent hydropower generator and profit making enterprise. The assets of the new VRA, he noted, should be secured and not parcelled out, mortgaged or pledged in support of any other power generating activity or enterprise such as the West Africa Gas Pipeline Project (WAGP).

For thermal generation, Asante said the commission had recommended the setting up of a state-owned entity which may be called “Ghana Power.” This entity, he said, would assume all obligations of the current VRA in respect of the proposed gas sale contracts under WAGP and would also own the thermal plants at Takoradi. The executive secretary stated that the commission was not in favour of the creation of VRA as a holding company. “Ghana power as a thermal generator will compete with independent power producers in the power market. Therefore, hydro operations must be separated from thermal generation in fact and in law, he added.

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