With recurring shortfalls in energy generation and distribution, the Electricity Company of Ghana has proposed a 24-hour blackout, 24-hour lights on for a new load shedding management schedule to enable consumers “to plan their activities to use power efficiently.”
However, the ECG seems not to have reckoned the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission which has kicked against the move by the ECG to introduce a new load shedding schedule.
But, according to the PURC, stakeholders at a meeting on Thursday, agreed to maintain the 18-hour load shedding management time-table, which is already in place.
This means that specific areas will have an 18-hour blackout while others will have 18-hour lights on.
According to the Director of Public Affairs at the PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah, the power generation shortfall was now 400 megawatts (MW) which made it possible to maintain an 18-hour load shedding.
She explained in an interview that the Takoradi Thermal Plant Two unit had been restored and is currently producing additional 100MW thus reducing the generation shortfall from 500MW to 400MW.
Ghana is currently dealing with a power generation shortfall of between 550 and 600 megawatts (MW).
The shortfall represented about a third of the entire 2,000 MW of power generated for distribution.
Nana Yaa Jantuah stated that a fourth backup plan was also in place to ensure sufficient power during the off peak periods.
Nonetheless, Nana Yaa Jantuah said the country needed to purchase 900,000 barrels of crude oil to power its thermal plants as a short-term response to the energy crisis.
The decision, which she said was agreed on at the meeting, indicated that the country needed $120 million to finance the 900,000 barrels of crude oil as a transitional measure while awaiting the Atuabo Gas plant to come on stream.
Officials at the energy sector have attributed the current challenges to the drop in the water level at the Akosombo generation plant, unreliable gas supply to thermal plants from the West African Gas Pipeline Company and regular maintenance schedules.
Some areas in the country have experienced power outage for close to two days, while others have only two hours of power. The situation has compelled some businesses to close down.
The Communications Director of the PURC said the commission had also directed the ECG to respond rapidly to faults in any of their transmissions and other equipment and ensure that areas that went off more than the scheduled period were resolved.
She said the ECG was also to come out with communications and advertising contact numbers and lines to enable the public to contact them over any faults in the systems.