Dumsor: A lot goes into drawing load-shedding timetable – Kwadwo Poku

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Dumsor
Kwadwo Nsafoah Poku
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An energy expert and a member of the energy committee of the NPP 2024 Campaign team, Kwadwo Nsafoah Poku, has asserted that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) does not merely publish a load-shedding (dumsor) timetable, indicating that a lot goes into the drawing of a load-management schedule.

He emphasised that the power distributor requires a lot more time to put together a schedule for the public. He cited the ECG’s statement, which noted that the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) gives ECG limited timelines in notifying it of generation shortfalls to their bulk supply points (BSPs), which results in dumsor.

Kwadwo Poku made the assertions when contributing to efficiency in power supply discussions on The Key Points on Saturday, April 20.

Responding to private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu’s comments that producing a timetable is not “rocket science,”  he quizzed, “Does he know what goes into process to give a timetable?”

Dumsor

“…it is not just a mere timetable; there is a lot that goes into that thing before,” he stated.

“You have seen the documentation that has gone to show whatever GRIDCo, who wields the power and manages the grid, informs ECG, ECG has come out to say that they give them about one hour to three hours notice when they are having challenges with the frequency on their part,” said the energy expert.

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He stressed that the document suggests that “there isn’t enough time and ECG themselves have challenges.”

Mr. Nsafoah further backed the ECG’s position of refusing to comply with GRIDCo’s load-management directive, arguing that the ECG, having met its contractual arrangements with GRIDCo, must receive the agreed megawatts to serve its customers.

“ECG had their own power purchase agreement within which they operate and they have arranged and signed off in agreement with these independent power producers (IPPs). If at any point in time these IPPs are generating far in excess of what you need for your concessionary area…but ECG that signed agreement for 2000 megawatts should manage 200 megawatts.

“ECG is saying that why should I manage the load because my contractual obligation is being met and I should be able to get power for my customers,” he explained.

He also dismissed the concerns that the power challenges in the country are largely due to a lack of money to purchase fuel.

GRIDCo reported ECG to Energy Minister

It would be recalled that GRIDCo reported ECG to the Energy Minister, Dr. Matther Opoku Prempeh, over the latter’s failure to comply with load management directives.

In a letter addressed to the Minister sighted by 3News, the systems manager indicated, amongst other things, that ECG on several occasions failed to adhere to the load management advice from the System Control Centre (SCC) of GRIDCo.

“We note with grave concern the repeated instances where Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Operations personnel fail to follow load management instructions issued by the SCC. This non-compliance poses a significant threat to the stability of the power grid, potentially leading to avoidable power outages for customers and system collapse.”

“The SCC routinely communicates load management directives to ECG Operations. However, these instructions are often either not effected or inadequately implemented,” the letter added.

This, according to GRIDCo, results in a “decline in system frequency, triggering the operation of the Automatic Frequency Load Shedding (AFLS) relays,” adding that “SCC has to disconnect feeders serving bulk customers to correct the decaying frequency.”

GRIDCo cited March 20 and 21 instances where the system manager had to take off Tema and Tafo feeders which resulted in a system drop to “critical levels.”

“March 21, 2024, 07:59h: The SCC had to take Tafo feeders out of service due to ECG’s failure to properly implement load management instructions. This resulted in a system frequency drop to a critical level of 49.47 Hz.”

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“March 20, 2024, Peak Hours: Similar non-compliance by ECG operations during peak hours forced the SCC to disconnect feeders in Tema, Winneba, Kasoa, and Kumasi. This action was taken to prevent system collapse after the frequency dropped to a concerning 49.29 Hz,” the letter explained.

GRIDCo further noted that “when these emergency disconnections occur, ECG publishes customer notices attributing the loss of power supply to GRIDCo,” stating that such an attribution “is not an accurate description of the current situation.”

However, Mr. Nsafoah revealed that there’s an ongoing engagement between the sector minister and the two entities to resolve the issues.