Ghana’s Electric Company in stealthy load shedding

Power Transmission 112 December 2013, Accra – It appears Ghana’s power distributor, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has embarked on a secret load shedding exercise, without informing the public.

Power supply to most parts of the country has been irritatingly unreliable in recent times, and it is feared the whole country would soon to be thrown into a quagmire of another “dumso” phenomenon, as witnessed a couple of months ago.

Not a single day passes without the lights going off in many homes in Accra, and the coordinated manner in which the lights go off and on in various parts of the city, gives credence to the fact that it is not mere coincidence.

But, when The Chronicle contacted the Electricity Company on what could account for the incessant power outages, the Public Relations Officer, Mr. William Boateng, blamed the situation on faulty cables. “I can say on authority that we are not doing load shedding,” he said.

He explained that a 33,000 voltage underground cable had developed “multiple faults,” which engineers of the company were currently studying to determine whether it should be replaced entirely or repaired. He, however, did not say when the engineers would come to a decision on what to do about the faulty cable.

With the yuletide around the corner, any such power problems would spell doom for families and businesses who would be keeping large amounts of food in freezers for the festivities.

Already reeling under heavy taxes, industries, many of whom are already suffering from the recent hikes in utility tariffs, would collapse should they resort to alternative sources of power for their production during the Christmas period.

In September this year, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission announced a 78.9 percent increase in electricity tariffs.

The Electricity Company justified the increases as the only way it could deliver satisfactory service to Ghanaians

The increases generated a lot of uproar from labour and industries, which felt it would further worsen the economic conditions of many Ghanaians and lead to the collapse of many local industries in the country.

The Trades Union Congress, consequently, threatened a nationwide strike in demand for a reduction in the tariffs.

When the government finally succumbed to pressure from organised labour, it reduced the tariff by 25 percent, from 78.9 percent to 59.1 percent.

The government’s decision followed a recommendation made by a Technical Working Group tasked to study the new utility tariffs announced by the PURC.

The action by the government is said to have translated into a subsidy of over GH¢400 million to be paid to the utility companies to maintain a steady supply of energy.

– The Chronicle

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