John Peter Amewu
The Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu, has allayed fears of Ghanaians that the recent intermittent power outages in the country will not be permanent.
Addressing Members of Parliament (MPs) yesterday in Parliament in Accra, Mr. Amenu said major system disturbances on March 12 and March 13, this year, automatically resulted in the interruption of power supply to customers across the country.
He said the disturbances were due to challenges at the newly commissioned Accra Central substation.
The minister also said such challenges could be attributed to a request by the Ghana Highways Authority for the relocation of two towers on the cable between Tema and Aboadze to enable the authority construct the new interchange at Pokuase.
“The fundamental cause of these blackouts is the ongoing construction of the road interchange at Pokuase, which has necessitated the diversion of GRIDCo’s 330kV transmission line towers that run from Tema to Aboadze in that vicinity,” he said.
He assured the House that the relocation of the towers would be completed by Tuesday, March 19. 2019.
“We are in constant touch with GRIDCo and the contractors to expedite work and complete the relocation of the towers according to schedule to enable the restoration of the 330 kV line,” the minister pointed out.
He further revealed that engineers had engaged their Japanese counterparts to resolve the technical challenges at the new Accra Central substation.
“Mr Speaker, to acquaint myself with the situation as the sector minister, I paid a visit with my technical team to the various sites, including some of the power plants that tripped in Tema on Thursday, March 14, 2019. The plants that tripped were in operation at the time of our visit.”
The minister indicated that for the power system to function effectively, all components in the value chain namely generation, transmission and distribution, must be in good shape and that if any of the three components faces challenges, there would be temporary power cuts.
The minister also told Parliament that because of the numerous Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) that were reached by the previous administration, the nation had overcapacity payments averaging $25 million a month.
To minimise the effect of such huge payments, he said the current government was negotiating with the PPAs to bring the costs down to the barest minimum in the interim.
“Mr Speaker, let me state that the events that led to the challenges that the power system of Ghana experienced are by no means the return of ‘Dumsor,'” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) has ordered Power Distribution Services (PDS) to redistribute loads at various bulk supply points to ensure system reliability.
GRIDCo, in a statement signed by the head of Public Relations, said “this may result in outages to some electricity consumers.”
Already, Ghanaians have taken to social media to express their frustration over the power cuts in recent times.
“Due to the construction of the road interchange at the ACP Junction, Pokuase, the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) has taken out of service the 330KV Aboadze-Tema transmission line traversing the road to enable the contractor to divert the power line.”
“GRIDCo sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience these arrangements may cause to the public. GRIDCo assures the general public that it is committed to ensuring that normal service is restored,” according to the statement.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr