Government says it will need 12 days to end the current power outages being experienced across the country.
Ghanaians have in the last week been experiencing unannounced disruptions in electricity supply to their homes and offices, heightening fears of a return to power crisis, popularly referred to as dumsor.
But government has explained it has have to shut down the power generating plants within the Tema enclave since Saturday to allow some on-going construction work to interconnect the West African Gas pipelines to Ghana Gas pipelines.
The move, it said Monday, is to enable the transportation of surplus natural gas from Takoradi in the Western Region to Tema in Greater Accra to power the plants in the area in a bid to ensure affordable electricity for Ghanaians.
“Our hope was to reduce to the barest minimum the disruptions of supply of energy to the good people of this country and we were hoping that you wouldn’t even know this work was going on but unfortunately we’ve gotten to where we are,” Deputy Energy Minister William Owuraku Aidoo told journalists.
In the wake of the current situation, government said it is implementing alternative measures to mitigate the level of disruptions within the 12 days. To this end, it has secured liquid fuel in excess of 11,00 metric tonnes to power the plants in within the Tema enclave.
The ongoing project, Mr Aiddo explained, would ensure there is sufficient natural gas to fuel the power generating plants, as well as bring an end to the ritual of ‘no gas from Nigeria’ and ‘pressure is low’.
“The whole idea is to have the ability to transport our stranded gas from the west [Takoradi] to the east [Tema] to feed our generators there,” he said.
He noted that the completion of the project will offer Ghanaians “huge benefit”.
Mr Aidoo said it will therefore be total “balderdash” for anyone to claim the current disruptions are the result of mismanagement of the energy sector by government and lack of funds to procure fuel to power the plants.
Meanwhile, he has on behalf of the government apologised to Ghanaians for the power disruptions which, he admitted is affecting businesses and social life.
‘Sorry, it’s a small price to pay for’
“All I will say now is, on behalf of the Minister, the president of course, to apologise to you, the people of Ghana for what is happening,” he stated.
The Minister assured that the respective agencies in the project were doing their best “to bring the supply of electricity to normalcy. This is a small price. I know it’s disrupting a lot of businesses and even social life of Ghanaians. In my humble estimation, it is a price that we are paying for our better tomorrow.
Chief Executive of Ghana Gas, Dr Ben Asante, noted the amount of residual gas from his outfit is more than what the power generating plants need, hence “we intend to take any surplus gas that is resident in the west through that interconnection to the East where the gas supply is anaemic.
He said the construction work started three weeks ago and operated a “partial shutdown” of the system hence some amount of gas was able to flow through the pipes.
However, Dr Asante said the construction work has reached a point requiring a total shut down of the pipelines, which means “absolutely no gas flowing through the two systems”.
Dr Asante said the project is not just joining two pipelines together, indicating “it goes way beyond that. [The] System will have to be de-pressurised. And you also have to make them inert, that is to take out all flammable gas out”.