Load shedding to end December – Minister insists

Ghana’s Power Minister Dr. Kwabena Donkor has insisted the on-going load shedding will end at the end of December, but noted there could be what he has termed ‘localised power outages’.

He defined localised outages as power cuts arise out of a number of factors, mainly as a results of operational reasons including tripping of generating plants, destruction of transformers triggered by theft or vandalism, and automatic cut of transformers as a result of overload.

“Load shedding arises out of a generation deficit. It is when power is curtailed because of generation deficit where as localised outages arise out of operational reasons,” he explained.

When asked on TV3’s Hot Issues Saturday afternoon whether load shedding will be over by the end of December as he promised, he answered: “Presently from where I stand, Yes! However, there can always be unforeseen causation. As we stand, with all the generation assets we are bringing on board we should be able to bridge the gap by the end of the year.

“We can still have localised outages in particular localities. For example, two weeks ago within a single week, we had five transformers vandalised; plain vandalism, people want to steal the coppers from the transformers and they’re draining the oil.

“So when that happens, that particular locality will be affected because it is going to take ECG a bit of time to either replace the transformer or repair it if its repairable. Of course we have also have situations where some underground cables have been stolen so those could create localised outages.

“We also have situations where sometimes our transformers are overloaded and some of the new ones we are bringing when they are overloaded they cut. That is why I’m extremely careful the emphasis is on load shedding”.

He said when he made the promise to resign should he fail to solve the crisis, he meant load shedding and not ‘dumsor’, which he said is broad and encapsulate a lot of things.

Dr. Donkor who has come under a barrage of criticisms from Ghanaians and industry, outlined a number of interventions he said will start producing results from next week and ultimately by the end of the year.

In February this year he promised to resign as the sector Minister should he fail to end the crisis, which the country has been grappling with in the last three years, by the end of December.

“At least the end of the year is December so you can hold me to that…Yes, I will resign,” he told Ghanaians on an Accra-based Joy FM on February 3, but the situation has since worsened with occasional improvement.

Even before December ends, a number of people have called on him to be honourable enough by resigning since there is no indication of the crisis, which has been tagged as ‘dumsor’, ending.

But speaking on the show, Dr. Donkor said: “Barring any unforeseen circumstance, from next week, consumers will begin to feel the easing of the load shedding and by Christmas, but again, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, load shedding should be at the barest minimum if it exist at all. It may not exist as at Christmas or as at the end of the month. But the caveat is that, for example if the SPO trips, we’ll have a challenge for the short period that we will have to bring it back,”

He outlined a number of interventions, which he said will begin yielding significant results from next week, saying “essentially we are working from all front. I expect that the quantum being shed should be reducing from next week by which time we’ll have the 120 unit in place from Atuabo, by which time the 150 TAPCo that is down would have been up”. 

He revealed mechanical test is currently being run on the much talked about Karpower barge, the Kpong Thermal Power Plant, noting that installation is taking place on AMERI Power Plant.

Additionally, he said the TICO expansion component, which will add on 120 megawatts power, is also picking up, adding,  “We are getting all our generation assets in place. That has been the major issue with load shedding.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|tv3network.com

Twitter @steviekgh

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