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GRIDCo demands $30m debt from VALCO …threatens to disconnect power by December 30

The Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) has threatened to disconnect power transmission to the Volta Aluminum Company (VALCO) on December 30, this year if it does not settle its debt of about 30million dollars.

The action, according to Jonathan Amoako-Baah, GRIDCo Chief Executive Officer, had become necessary because it could no longer bear the brunt of debts VALCO and other companies owed it.

“On exactly December 30, 2019, at 11: 00 am, we are going to disconnect them and I believe this is going to push them to do something about their indebtedness,” he told journalists after the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra yesterday.

The 10th AGM was to deliberate on the state of the company’ operations as of December 31, 2018.

The threats comes at a time the Senior Staff Association of GRIDCo are demanding the urgent payments of debt owned them by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), VALCO, and Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).

It has resolved to take various actions if debts including $32. 5million owed them by VALCO as at September 30, 2019; GH₵ 607 million owed by ECG as at March 1, 2019; GH₵ 177 million owed by NEDCo as at September 30th, 2019 were not paid.

Delivering his report earlier at the AGM, Mr Amoako-Baah said “the operations of the company were greatly affected by the financial situation which prevailed in 2018,” including debts and reduction in tariff for transmission service.

He said there was a 50 per cent reduction in approved tariff in the year under review, which had a toll on the transmission service charge (TSC), a major determinant of its financial performance.

The February 2018 tariff alone, he said, slashed the company’s revenue as there was a loss of GH₵ 114.3 million which represented a 268 per cent increase of the GH₵

31.1 million losses recorded in 2017.

 As a result of revenue reduction and losses, Mr Amoako-Baah said improvement of transmission infrastructure was significantly scaled down while the company was unable to complete a number of projects it planned to undertake.

 “It is therefore imperative that there be an appropriate injection of capital in the company in order to maintain high operational standards,” he said.

He said the company was making efforts to surmount its financial distress and improve efficiency through projects including setting up a telecoms unit to leveraging on its fibre optic network

On power transmission, he said a total of 15.96 terawatts hour (TWh) of energy was transmitted, representing an 11.53 per cent growth over the 2017 figure of 14.31 TWh.

 Out of the figure , 14.50TWh was consumed locally  as compared to 13.34 TWh in 2017  adding that 0.14TWh of energy was imported while  0.74TWh was exported to neighbouring countries.

A Deputy Minister of Energy , William Owuraku Aidoo  said the company had been recording losses over the last three years with the 2018 net loss pegged at GHC114 million.

 He said the government would continue to support ongoing initiatives to address the debts owed by ECG, NEDCo and VALCO adding that GRIDCo would be included in the sharing of the Energy Sector Levy Act Fund.

 In addition, he said a government guarantee had been secured to help resume disbursement of a loan given to GRIDCo by the Agence Francaise De Developpment (AFD).

Present at the meeting were the board chair of GRIDCo,  Kabral  Blay-Amihere and Director General of State Interest  and Governance Authority (SIGA), Stephen Asamoah Boateng,  who pledged to use their offices to help turn around the fortunes of the company.


BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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