The Ministry of Energy has attributed the latest intermittent power outages to the shutdown of the Atuabo Gas Plant for the interconnection of Ghana Gas Company Limited pipes to that of the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo).
The 12-day exercise, which started on Saturday, is to enable the country transport surplus natural gas from the Takoradi enclave in the Western Region to Tema.
The ministry has, however, assured the public that an initial challenge with adequate alternate fuel for power generation had been resolved to reduce the impact of the exercise on power supply.
Addressing journalists in Accra, yesterday, Deputy Minister of Energy In charge of Power, William Owuraku Aidoo, apologised to Ghanaians for the impact of the power outages on businesses and social life.
The press conference was to explain the reason for the disruptions in power supply in the last few days that has kept Ghanaians on edge with fears of a looming power crisis.
Policy think-tank African Centre for Energy Policy yesterday told Accra-based Joy FM that government was struggling to find money to buy fuel to power plants and generate electricity.
“This is how Mahama’s ‘dumsor’ started in 2011, and 2012,” Executive Director Ben Boakye said and ruled out installed capacity as the cause of the erratic power supply over the weekend.
But Mr Aidoo at the press conference refuted the assertion stating that all necessary steps were being taken to reduce the impact of the exercise to the barest minimum.
He said aside the TEPCO and Ameri plants where there was insufficient gas to power them; Asogli plant had its full complement of gas of 150megawatts while enough fuel had been procured for other plants.
Mr Aidoo said there was enough diesel in Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) tanks which were being pumped to Kpone Thermal Power Plant (KTPP) to provide about 100 mega watts of power.
The intention of the ministry, Mr Aidoo said was to undertake the exercise in a manner that would not affect power supply or reduce the impact but the alternative fuel to curb the impact, fell short.
When the interconnection is completed, he said the occasional challenges of gas supply from Nigeria would be history as the huge quantity of gas from the Western Region stranded would be transported to Tema for power generation.
Explaining the interconnection exercise, CEO of Ghana Gas, Dr Ben Asante said the exercise was to enable the country wheel some of its surplus gas from the Western Region, through the West African Pipeline to Tema.
This, he said, required that both systems had to be shutdown and depressurised with flammable gases taken out of the systems, amongst other technical fittings.
He revealed that work started about three weeks ago with the intention to have a partial shutdown for initial works but it had become necessary for a total shutdown.
Dr Ibrahim Amin Adam, Deputy Minister in charge of Petroleum said it was pertinent that the interconnection was done now as the country would have to spend about $400,000 per day for the delay of the shutdown as constructors had been around.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR