The huge government expenditure of ¢19.4 billion on electricity bills monthly is expected to reduce significantly with the installation of a conservation device now in operation at the University of Ghana, Legon, and three other institutions of higher learning.
With the installation of the device, known as the Power Factor Correction Equipment, energy consumption at the University of Ghana has reduced by 50 per cent and according to Dr Alfred K. Ofosu Ahinkorah, the Executive Director of the Energy Foundation, total energy consumption “can be substantially reduced” if the facility is extended to cover ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs)
He said the device was expected to be installed on transformers of other government establishments to save the nation billions of cedis in terms of expenditure on energy consumption.
The installation of the equipment has resulted in a reduction in energy cost of the university from an average of ¢1.28 billion a month between October 2004 and November 2005 to ¢643 million between December 2005 and February 2006.
That means the university is now able to save an average of ¢641.49 million on its energy expenditure.
The Power Factor Correction equipment is meant to eliminate inefficiency in energy usage by matching demand with consumption.
Currently, the government's energy expenditure for the MDAs is about ¢19.4 billion a month and according to Dr Ahinkorah, “this can be substantially reduced if we take the appropriate measures”.
He told the Daily Graphic that the foundation had completed the installation of a similar equipment at the University of Cape Coast, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and the University College of Education, Winneba, with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science of Technology being the next in line.
The acting Deputy Director of the Physical Development and Municipal Services Directorate of the University of Ghana, Mr B. O. Ahene-Amanquanor, corroborated the fact that the installation of the equipment had reduced energy consumption of the University of Ghana by 50 per cent.
In a separate interview, he said the university spent about ¢1.23 billion in October and November 2005 but that expenditure reduced to ¢605 million in December 2005 after the equipment had been installed, adding that the expenditure even dropped further to ¢446 million in January 2006.
Mr Ahene-Amanquanor said the equipment was a very good system, whose use ought to be encouraged to ensure efficient use of energy.
The total cost of the installation of the equipment in the five tertiary institutions is ¢1.9 billion, which hitherto, could not have paid even the two-month electricity bill of the University of Ghana alone before the installation of the equipment there.
Averagely, the installation of the equipment cost between $6,000 and $12,000.
Government sources said the government intended to replicate the initiative throughout the country to reduce dependence on thermal energy supply and consequently save cost.
The energy conservation initiative at the University of Ghana, which is part of measures adopted by the government to reduce expenditure on energy, involved the installation of 26 capacitor banks on transformers that serve the various halls of residence and academic facilities at the university.
The project was implemented by the Energy Foundation on behalf of the Ministry of Energy.