Minority calls on government to explain the current power challenges

Accra, April 28, GNA-The National Democratic Congress and Minority Caucus in Parliament have attributed the current power challenges to political interference.

Calling the current power supply as “epileptic”, the Minority urged the Government to come clean on the current energy supply, and desist from blame games, as it said “shifting blame and providing conflicting information only goes to exacerbate the crisis.”

They regrouped from recess, and held a news conference at the Parliament House, in Osu, Accra, on Wednesday, at which Mr John Abdulai Jinapor, the Ranking Member on Committee on Mines and Energy, registered the Minority’s reaction to the recent unreliable power supply in parts of the country.

He said: Since the beginning of 2021, many parts of the country have been plunged into state of darkness often without prior notice to the consumers. Unfortunately, the situation keeps worsening by the day.

“While most Ghanaians have been witnessing intermittent power outages, others have been experiencing low current and occasional high voltage leading to damage of electrical gadgets and valuable assets in some cases.

“The impact of yet another energy crisis can have dire consequences on the struggling debt ridden COVID-19 economy under President Akufo-Addo.

“Today, not only are we witnessing unreliable supply of power, the obnoxious double track system has been exported to the power sector under this Government.”

The Minority noted various explanations offered by the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCO) on the energy crisis, and made mockery of GRIDCO’s explanation that trees falling over high tension transmission lines have caused power outages.

“It is important to note that GRIDCO has strict maintenance culture of clearing bushes and shrubs under their lines; so the question is, since when did these shrubs grow into trees.”

The Minority impugned the explanation to the crisis, and said itis obvious there is something more serious happening within Ghana’s energy sector.

More the managers of the sector are giving “unconvincing excuses”, the Minority accused.

Alleging conflicting statements from the sector Minister and the Chief Executive of the Bui Power Authority over the power crisis and when it would be resolved, labour and management issues, the Minority alleged political pressure and consequent putting on hold of the anticipated schedule of for load management to be published.

The Minority recalled that in March 2018, the current Chief Executive Officer of GRIDCO cautioned of anticipated power supply challenges for the Government slashing the revenue flows of the GRIDCO and other utility agencies that went unheeded.

It noted various investments made in to the energy sector, including the current Akufo-Addo Administration receiving over GHC12 billion, in Energy Sector Levy Act revenues and almost GHC 20 in petroleum over the past four years.

The Minority also said that current outages were due to financial challenges and not because of technical challenges as claimed by the GRIDCO, and gave pluses for energy agencies for making profits under the erstwhile Mahama Administration, but massive losses in revenue under the current NPP Government.

They said a number of investments, including; the 330 kv line from Aboadze to Accra, the Aboadze Prestea Kumasi 330 kv, the Accra Aflao 330 kv transmission line, and 330 kv export line to Burkina Faso, among others, which were constructed, or initiated under the John Mahama Administration.

“But for the mismanagement of the EGC Concession by this Government which resulted in the PDS scandal,, Ghana wouldn’t have lost the $190 million meant for improving the power distribution sector,” Mr Jinapor, who is also MP for Yapei Kusawgu, and former Deputy Energy Minister said.

In furtherance of its commitment towards ensuring reliable and uninterrupted supply of power, the Minority propose a -10- point recommendation for implementation.

It called on energy sector players to be proactive and publish a schedule to inform electricity consumers who would be affected by power outages in advance for affected customers to take remedial steps to mitigate the effect of such outages.

Government, it suggested must cut down on wasteful expenditure and inject the much-needed capital into the power sector especially GRIDCO to make up for the impaired cash flow of these utilities, and desist from political interference in the management of the Energy sector.

Consequently, government must refrain from engaging in political appointments especially within middle management levels when vacancies are declared.

Mr Jinapor said the government and its communicators must avoid propaganda on excess capacity and come out with a formula for absorbing capacity charges as part of operating cost.

He said the power sector managers must ensure that they pursue Long term planning to ensure fuel security for generating assets at the least cost possible; and allow Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to take the responsibility for their fuel supply requirements.

He urged the Ministry of finance to take steps to utilize the $1 billion sovereign bond borrowed in 2020 to address the financial challenges of the Energy sector and called on the Government to ensure that Energy sector SOEs Publish details of their financial statements including details and ageing of their indebtedness as well as debts owed to them on time.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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