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There’ll be no ‘dumsor’ - Power utilities assure

BY: Maxwell Akalaare Adombila
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (right), Minister of Energy, stressing a point during the interaction
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh (right), Minister of Energy, stressing a point during the interaction

Heads of companies in the power generation and distribution sector have assured the nation of reliable power supply to meet its demands.

They have also stressed that the recent power outages and the total blackout experienced last Sunday were not a return to the regime of irregular power supply, popularly known as ‘dumsor’.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Grid Company Ltd (GRIDCo), Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah; the Managing Director of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Mr Kwame Agyeman-Budu, and the CEO of the Volta River Authority (VRA),
Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, at a meeting with the Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, last Wednesday, reiterated their commitment to sustainable power supply.

Yesterday, the minister embarked on his first familiarisation visit to the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), where he pledged to work closely with staff of the refinery to make the company the premier refinery in Africa.

Meeting utilities

At the meeting with the companies, the heads agreed that the recent challenge in power distribution, which had led to a total system shutdown, was due to a technical fault, and that it was not the resurgence of dumsor, a statement issued by the ministry and copied to the Daily Graphic said.

The leadership of the utilities also gave an assurance that the generation capacity of the country was beyond 5,000 megawatts (MW), with corresponding daily demand between 2,700MW and 2,900MW.

They explained that the current inherent challenges had to do with transmission and distribution, and that a lot of work was being done to resolve them.

Be patient

Dr Prempeh, for his part, said continuous power supply remained crucial for the country’s daily social and economic activities to propel growth.

He entreated all Ghanaians to be patient as the issues were being promptly dealt with.

The minister, however, requested that the institutions in charge of electricity identified the causes of the frequent outages and nip them in the bud.

Dr Prempeh assured them of the ministry’s support, saying: “The Energy Ministry is ready to support you to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”

The minister also met with his team of directors and unit heads at the ministry, during which he stressed the importance of three core principles – discipline, unity and high work ethics – which he said were fundamental to prosecute the President’s vision for the energy sector.

“I can assure you that it will not be easy, but with hard work and collaboration, we should be able to ease the burden on the ordinary Ghanaian in terms of cost of energy. I look forward to a fruitful tenure,” Dr Prempeh said.

TOR visit

Dr Prempeh said his ministry would support the refinery with the necessary policies and partnership deals for it to regain its glorious past, when new jobs would be created and existing ones protected.

He told the workers that discussions on securing a strategic partner for the refinery and recapitalising it were in advanced stages to help it turn its fortunes around.

While saying that he was fully aware of the endemic challenges facing the refinery, the former Education Minister said he had resolved that the national crude oil processor would not be dismembered under President Akufo-Addo, who appointed him.

Familiarisation visit

The minister gave the assurance when he interacted with the unionised workers and the management of the refinery at its head office.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Manhyia North said the visit, which was his first to any of the agencies under the Ministry of Energy, was in line with his commitment to revive the company.

He said the visit followed a meeting he had held with the unionised staff of TOR, during which various concerns on the refinery's fortunes were raised, necessitating the need to address them, along with the management.

Strategic partnership

Dr Prempeh said the partnership would aim to leverage TOR's competent workforce, technical expertise and vast infrastructure to operate profitably.

He said it would also aim to increase the capacity of the refinery to about 100,000 barrels of crude oil per stream day.

Dr Prempeh said he had also initiated discussions with the State Interest and Governance Authority to explore ways of recapitalising the refinery, alongside the search for a strategic partner.

That was needed to address the debt overhung of the refinery and endear it more to investors, he said.

Management position

The Managing Director of TOR, Mr Francis Adu Tutu Boateng, commended the minister for the visit and assured him that the management of TOR would give of its best to help turn the fortunes of the company around.

He said the visit was a morale booster for the staff and management and expressed the confidence that TOR would support the minister to bring his ideas into fruition.