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22.11.2019 Politics

Minority Charges Gov’t To Settle Power Debt To Avert GRIDCo Strike

By News Desk
Minority Charges Gov’t To Settle Power Debt To Avert GRIDCo Strike

The Minority in Parliament wants the government to immediately settle the power sector debts that are affecting operations of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo).

At a press briefing on Thursday, Senior Staff and the Divisional Union of GRIDCo withdrew emergency services.

The Senior Staff and the Divisional Union also expressed concern with debt owed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).

The staff also plan to strike if the debts owed the company are not settled by December 4, 2019.

Commenting on these developments, the Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament, Adam Mutawakilu told the press that the President needed to intervene in the matter.

“The morale of staff is not sound because of frustrations. They will not be able to out their bests to ensure the lights are on and therefore President Nana Akufo-Addo should not take us back to dumsor… He should resolve all the challenges facing GRIDCo, extended to ECG and NEDCo with immediate effect.”

The union says ECG and NEDCo owe about GHS607 million and GHS177 million respectively, while VALCO and PDS owe over US$32 million and GHS94 million respectively.

After seven days, staff of GRIDCo plan to march to the ECG head office and the Ministry of Finance to picket in demand for their money.

This development comes after the government's termination of the PDS concession agreement, forcing the ECG to assume full control of electricity distribution business in the southern part of Ghana which was hitherto being handled by PDS.

ECG is said to be owing Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country huge sums of money although it occasionally receives money from the state to defray part of the debt.

The IPPs which supplied about 1,500 megawatts of electricity have constantly threatened to shut down their plants if the government fails to settle debts owed them.

GRIDCo had complained that it is unable to expand its transmission lines due to huge debts owed it.