Following the joint press release by VRA, GRIDCO and ECG on January 23, 2017 in connection with the planned shut down by the Ghana National Gas Company (GNGC) for maintenance and also to allow for the connection and commissioning of the gas supply system from the TEN fields to the Atuabo processing plant, we wish to advise that the work has been successfully completed and it is our expectation that power supply will return to normal by February 27, 2017.
The schedule for the completion of the works, which was originally slated from 3rd to 20th February 2017 had to be extended to February 26th 2017 due to certain operational difficulties experienced by Tullow Oil, the operators of the TEN fields.
We wish to note that on the assumption of the NPP government, our first major objective was to stop a looming “dumsor” resulting from these operational challenges.
The tie-in of the TEN-gas FPSO necessitated the shutdown of the gas processing plant and consequently led to the curtailment of natural gas to the Aboadze Power Enclave with the shutdown of the AMERI Energy power plant (230 Megawatts). Furthermore, the entire Takoradi Thermal Power Plant (TAPCo of 330 Megawatts) and two-thirds of the capacity of Takoradi International Power Plant (TICo, 220 Megawatts) were shut down and have remained so for manufacturer-warranted major maintenance work. These became necessary to protect the plants from long term operational failures. Of all the power plants in the Aboadze Power Enclave, only TICo was available with only 110 Megawatts of generation. Fuel stocks for the operation of thermal power plants in Tema had ran out in the second week of January 2017 due to financial challenges. The combination of these factors effectively created conditions for the return of “dumsor”.
The government took the necessary steps to prevent the return to “dumsor” by procuring Light Crude Oil (LCO) and Diesel to operate the power plants which hitherto were not being operated due to lack of fuel.
Additionally, to safeguard the integrity of the national transmission system and to reduce the possibility of grid instability during the period, government sent a delegation to La Cote d’Ivoire which successfully negotiated an increase in power supply despite Ghana’s indebtedness of about US$60 million to our neighbour as at the end of December 2016.
We wish to state that with the tie-in operation successfully completed, and coupled with the measures we put in place including procurement of fuel and increased power supply from La Cote d’Ivoire, the situation will normalize from 27th February, 2017.
With regard to the power disruptions over the last three days, we note that this was not related to a deficit in generation but due to faults triggered by the severe rainstorm that hit parts of the country, particularly in Greater Accra, Ashanti and Central Regions, on 25th to 26th February 2017. The ECG is in the process of restoring power to those who may have been unfortunate to be affected by the outages.
We wish to assure the public that essential infrastructural works such as the connection of the TEN Fields to the Atuabo Gas Processing plant will always be carried out in a prudent, safe and efficient manner. Nevertheless, there is always the risk of operational challenges which may temporarily affect power supply. These works are however necessary to move the nation from the state of “dumsor” to a steady state where we can be assured of a constant supply of electricity.
We wish to further state that “dumsor” did not end with the election of a new Government. Even though we have adequate installed generation capacity, only half is available due to various technical and financial challenges. Government is determined to address these challenges. However, during this period, we will continue to face an occasional temporary setback until we move to a more sustainable state of uninterrupted power supply.
Government will therefore give customers regular operational updates of the power situation to ensure transparency as well as provide assurances of how effectively we are addressing the problems in the sector.
The Ministry of Energy expresses its gratitude to the public for their patience and understanding while the works on the TEN fields were carried out. Maintenance works on the Takoradi plants are also at advanced stages.
Finally, Government is working hard to address the financial challenges that led to a net debt of US$2.4 billion in the power sector to ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel, infrastructure upgrade and reliable power supply.
KING A. WELLINGTON