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10.03.2006 Press Review

EDITORIAL: Erratic Power Supply

By Ghanaian Chronicle
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What Has Valco Got to Do With It? Last Monday, March 6 2006, as the nation marked its 49th independence anniversary, it once more was time to take stock of our nation, counting our achievements, underlining the high and low points, and becoming more hopeful of a new year, especially it is our golden jubilee.

As for the low points in our history, the numerous military adventures and the marks they left on us never escape anybody. But even then there still are some who count some of those times as scoring some of the highest points in our national development, except for the high level of human rights abuses.

Every time that the achievements of this nation, since independence, come to be counted, one project that never escapes enumerators is the Akosombo Dam project, which has been the country's main source of electricity supply.

From the conception of the project, it became clear that there was the need for a guaranteed consumer and purchaser of the power to be produced; hence a long-term agreement with Volta Aluminium Company Limited (VALCO) to purchase power.

As the level of the Volta Lake dipped, at a time when national demand for power soared, the need to explore alternative ways of generating power and also take a critical look at the VALCO agreement became clear.

It was not surprising therefore that the state reviewed the amount of power allocated to VALCO, and also renegotiated for a review of the tariffs it paid for it.

VALCO has restarted operations, after its shut down and its principal shareholders withdrew from it and the Government of Ghana acquired its shares.

The terms of the current VALCO deal, regarding the level of power supply and tariff payments are still very uncertain.

With processes aimed at expanding the sources of the nation's power supply still afoot, questions agitating the minds of Ghanaians now include whether the current erratic power supply to Accra and other parts of the country has anything to do with the recommencement of VALCO operations.

Even though there have been attempts to explain the current provocative interruptions in electricity supply to consumers, the problem seem not to subside but rather goes from bad to worse.

The question therefore that needs to be answered is: what has the resumption of VALCO got to do with current rather high levels of interruptions in power supply?