Ghana has now been blessed with three hydroelectric dams and not less than two thermal plants, all of which are providing electricity for the entire country and for export to some neighbouring states.

However, it is a much known secret that the country is still not self-sufficient in power production.

Power outages, planned and unplanned, are still very common, with their attendant problems, such as reduction in productivity and destruction of properties and appliances through fire outbreaks and power surges.

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has already alluded to the fact that power supply shortfalls from the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) has prompted it to embark on an emergency power management exercise for the past three weeks, as reported in the Daily Graphic of yesterday.

With no hope of stabilising supplies in sight, the exercise is likely to occur anytime GRIDCo prompts the ECG to cut down on power supply to some of its consumers.

The exercise, which is intended to protect the ECG?s power generators, has so far led to the offloading of between 70 and 200 megawatts of power from the national grid to consumers between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on different occasions.

This situation has developed, in spite of the adjustment in tariffs at the beginning of the year, a development which the ECG?s PRO, Mr William Boateng, says has still not enabled the company to achieve full cost recovery, as people are paying far less than what they consume.

Also, despite the introduction of prepaid meters, which have largely cut the hitherto high incidence of unpaid bills, consumers are now at the receiving end because after pre-financing the operations of the ECG, constant electricity supply is not assured them.

But while the ECG has explained that the situation is due to the fact that presently the prepaid meters cover only 30 per cent of its operation areas, we hold the view that it is time Ghana critically examined its overdependence on hydro power.

Currently, the ECG provides power for only six regions, leaving out the Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and Upper West, which incidentally are all northwards of the country and catered for by the Northern Electricity Department.

After the launch of Ghana?s first solar plant at Punga in the Upper East Region, we believe it is time the country looked critically at renewable energy sources to beef up its power generation.

The regions up north could be used as pilots for solar energy projects which could be replicated all across the country afterwards.

After all, Ghana has been blessed with abundant sunshine which could be exploited, once we put our mind to it as a country.

Source Daily Graphic


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