24 July 2016

Bear with us – Power managers plead with consumers

Mr William Amuna

Mr William Amuna

Managers of the power sector have urged Ghanaians to bear with them as they work to resolve the current power challenges.

According to them, light crude oil to power the thermal plants was still being treated and was expected to be completed by Monday.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), Mr William Amuna, who said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic, indicated that power supply was expected to improve from Monday.

The Volta River Authority (VRA) took delivery of 400,000 barrels of light crude oil to power thermal plants in the Aboadze power enclave in Takoradi in the Western Region last week Thursday following inadequate gas supply from Ghana Gas.

The expectation

The 400,000 barrels were part of the 950,000 barrels expected in the country to power thermal plants at both the Aboadze and the Tema power enclaves.

With the delivery of the crude oil, power supply was expected to improve by 450 megawatts (MW).

However, after a week of taking delivery of the fuel, power consumers seem to be facing worsening power situation as the blackout intensifies.

Many power consumers are entertaining fears that the nation is gradually creeping back into the dark days of load shedding, otherwise called ‘dumsor’.

Under the circumstances, some consumers are demanding a load-shedding management timetable to enable them to plan their activities.

Generation deficit

p>But, according to Mr. Amuna, who doubles as the Chairman of the Load-Shedding Management Committee, to ensure the effective use of the crude oil, the VRA needed to drain and treat the fuel before usage and that would take some time.

“Yes, there is a challenge and we are resolving it, but the process takes a while. The fuel needs to be treated and it’s expected that many generators will be back on stream by Monday,” he explained.

Answering a question on the need for the treatment, he said the light crude could not be used directly.

“The crude oil cannot be used directly. It has to be left for two to three days to enable it to settle, then use another two to three days again to remove water that may be in it.

“After that, it will be treated to remove substances that can damage the unit. The whole process takes close to 10 days and at every stage you test to be sure of the fuel quality,” he explained.

Currently, Mr. Amuna said, the generation deficit was about 300 megawatts at peak periods and 210 off peak periods. Therefore, the fuel was expected to help close the gap.

Inadequacies in fuel supply

Ghana has, for the past few months, been going through power challenges. The situation has been attributed to the cut in gas supply from Nigeria-Gas (N-Gas) to the Tema enclave following debts owed by the VRA.

Also, gas supply from Ghana Gas to the Aboadze power enclave has reduced considerably as a result of challenges confronting the Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, the FPSO Kwame Nkrumah.

The Akosombo Dam is also unable to generate power at full capacity due to the low level of water in the dam.

This compelled management in the sector to order light crude oil from Nigeria which also delayed for a period of time.

Second crude oil arrives

Meanwhile, a source at Sahara Energy Resource Limited, the company responsible for supplying light crude oil to Ghana, told the Daily Graphic that the second consignment, which contained the remaining 550,000 barrels to power thermal plants in the Tema power enclave, had arrived in the country.

The source indicated that the crude oil had been discharged. Consequently, treatment of the oil is expected to begin very soon.

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