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26.03.2019 General News

Akufo-Addo Gov't Can't Buy Fuel To Power Thermal Plants--Former Energy Minister

By Henryson Okrah
Akufo-Addo Gov't Can't Buy Fuel To Power Thermal Plants--Former Energy Minister

Former Power Minister under the erstwhile Mahama government, Dr Kwabena Donkor has blamed the current power outages in the country on the inability of the Akufo-Addo government to purchase crude to power the country’s thermal plants.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Pru East in the Bono East Region, says the government is unable to buy adequate crude to generate power following the losses incurred by the various power generators: the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRiDCO) and the now privatised Electricity Company Of Ghana (ECG).

Dr. Kwabena Donkor who was speaking on Ete Sen on Radio XYZ 93.1 on Tuesday, noted the losses of the power agencies have made it difficult for the thermal plants to work at full capacity, thereby resulting in the resurfacing of power outages known in local parlance as ‘dumsor’.

“Load shedding should not be an issue again”, he told host Kwame Minkah, adding that the previous government had built thermal plants and procured power generators [badges] to generate power.

“Even when they [NPP] came to power, they said we the NDC had put in place a generational capacity that could bring in excess power,” Dr. Donkor revealed in Akan and quizzed, “so if they said there could be excess power, where from the power cuts?”

“As I speak, VRA owes Ghana Gas huge sums of money [and] apart from the gas we import heavy crude. we import gas from Nigeria… and if you can’t pay Ghana Gas, how can you pay for gas or crude you’re importing in a foreign currency to power plants like Kpong, Asogli, Tico? ”

To him, the power challenges can be resolved but need realistic measures other than what he described as propaganda, saying the depreciating of the cedi has worsened the situation coupled with the reduction of tariffs announced by the government sometime last year.

On the reduction of consumer tariffs, Dr. Donkor contended that government could have decided to allow the power agencies to work as they met them rather than reducing the tariffs, adding that the ECG for instance, was not owing before the NPP took over.

There are reports that because of losses incurred, the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRiDCO) had to cut its capital expenditure by 80 percent, as a result of the reduction of the tariffs. ECG and VRA have also made losses since 2017 and instead of the government to make a capital injection as a shareholder, it has resorted to “rhetorics” and blaming the power challenges on technical faults or incomplete projects.

To him, the generational shortfalls were dealt with before the NDC left power so the country should not be facing power cuts related to generational shortfalls.

“We dealt with the power problems. I always made a distinction between load shedding and power outage,” he stated and stressed, “The major challenge about power in this country is fuel…The Energy Sector Is Broke. We have fundamental problems.”