Some unidentified people at the early hours of yesterday vandalised a pylon transmitting 161 kilovolt power from the Volta station near Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) headquarters to the Volta Aluminium Company Limited (Valco) smelter and Tema.
The Volta station is the point where power transmitted from the Akosombo hydroelectric power plant is sent for voltage transformation before redistribution to Tema, Accra and surrounding areas.
Officials of GRIDCO said the unpatriotic act disrupted power supply to Accra West and the whole of Kumasi from 1:30 am until power was restored at 1:58 am.
It also affected the Karpowership Ghana Limited which contributes 450 megawatts power into the national grid.
The vandals used a hack saw blade to cut the bolts to remove the nuts holding the pylons to its concrete foundation before pushing it to fall eastwards and in the process disabling an adjoining pylon.
Strangely they did not take away any part of the fallen tower. They also left behind the hack saw blade used to commit the blunder and the bolts and nuts from the tower.
There are more than 20,000 towers in the country and officials said it was the first time that a thing like that had happened.
It would cost GRIDCO more than $50,000 to replace the tower.
Conducting pressmen round the scene yesterday the Director of Southern Network at GRIDCO, Mr Mark Baah, said somewhere after midnight operators on duty at the system control centre observed that there was a fault on the line.
An attempt to restore the line led to a surge indicating a permanent fault on the line.
Mr Baah said during a check by their patrol team early in the morning it was discovered that a tower on the Western line had collapsed onto another on the eastern line.
He said their initial suspicion was that the act had been perpetuated by scrap dealers ostensibly to pillage parts of the tower for sale but they realised that no tower member had been stolen indicating an act of vandalism meant to disrupt power supply in the Southern part of the country.
“We have isolated the two transmission lines going towards the smelter and the New Tema Station to be able to restore power to our customers. We will work to minimise the impact this incident may have on the system during the peak time,” he assured.
Mr Baah said the incident had been reported to the police and an investigation had commenced but no arrest had been made.
The Chief Executive Officer of GRIDCO, Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah indicated that linesmen had been tasked to start restoration works and an assessment of the impact of the collapsed tower on the other one to see if it could be used, was in process.
He gave assurance that GRIDCO would increase line patrol by its security to ensure that its 6,000 kilometres transmission lines were safe.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, condemned the barbaric act which brought down the pylon in Tema leading to a temporary hitch in power supply to some parts of the country.
“This is a complete sabotage, how can a civilised person do this to a national strategic asset,” he asked.
Mr Amewu was speaking during a visit to the site where the pylon laid to ascertain the extent of damage.
He said the National Security was working with the police to unravel those behind the act and deal with them according to law.
Mr Amewu called on Ghanaians to exercise patience and continue to support the government as it was focused to roll out programmes to make life better for everyone.
GRIDCO officials conducting the minister round said they found that those involved in the act also applied some corrosive chemical on the bolts and nuts before cutting them.
According to them another pylon located about 50 metres away had some of the chemicals smeared on it with some of the bolts partly cut.
Amoako-Baah noted that the scope of inspection of pylons had been widened to see the extent of the problem and map out a strategy to resolve it.
FROM GODFRED BLAY GIBBAH, TEMA