The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is installing 600 transformers in the Ashanti Region as part of the government’s capital investment to improve power supply in the region.
Among the targeted areas for attention are the economic hubs of the region, particularly those in the regional capital, which stand to gain more from this expansion and improvement project.
It is expected to be complete by the third quarter of this year. The company will also replace weak, burnt and concrete poles with new poles.
In all, more than 15, 000 electric poles have also been procured to replace the old, weak and burnt ones and extend power to those communities that are yet to be connected to the national grid.
This forms part of activities under the Electricity Distribution System Reinforcement and Extension Project (EDSREP), which is being funded through a loan and grant facility from the African Development Fund (ADF) at a cost of $70 million.
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Out of this, $21million has been devoted to improving on its services in the Ashanti Region alone.
Some contractors on site
At the launch of the project, the Deputy Minister for Energy in charge of Power, Mr William Owuraku Aidoo, disclosed that the transformers were procured under the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP) aimed at sector and institutional development, distribution improvement and transmission system upgrade.
He stated that the main objective of the project was to increase the general population’s access to electricity and to support the country’s transition to a low carbon economy through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to him, the launch of the distribution of the 600 distribution substations and accompanying materials in the region, “marks another remarkable progress in the efforts to improve electricity distribution and supply in the region.
“This aligns with government’s policy agenda for the distribution sub-sector and demonstrates the effective collaboration between the ministry, development partners and ECG to push forward our policy goal for the distribution sub-sector,” he said.
The project is to reinforce and extend power supply to over 140 communities in the region in general and Kumasi in particular, replace old transformers and provide reliable and stable power supply to consumers in the region.
It is also to improve on the operation efficiency of the company, reduce system losses and enhance customer care.
Areas that have been targeted to benefit from the project include Asafo Market, known for its cold store activities,which call for constant and reliable power supply is needed to sustain the businesses there.
The Suame Magazine enclave will also have its fair share of the project to enable the artisans to also enjoy reliable and sustainable power supply for their businesses without any hindrance.
During the era of the energy crisis, there were lots of agitations and complaints from the mechanics, artisans and traders at the Suame enclave, who complained bitterly about the irregular power supply, which, they said, negatively affected their businesses.
Another major beneficiary of the project will be businesses in Kaase, the industrial enclave of the region, where all the big industries are located.
During that period, some of the companies reportedly closed down while others relocated to areas where power supply was more stable and reliable.
According to the management of ECG, the main objective of the project was to revive economic activities in the Kumasi metropolis and promote both day and night commercial activities.
The Managing Director (MD) of ECG, Mr Samuel Boakye-Appiah, said in line with the loan agreement, which was to improve on the network capacity and reliability in the Ashanti Region, seven out of 15 business centres or district offices were to benefit from the project.
These include Danyame, Asokwa, Abuakwa, Ayigya, Manhyia, Suame and Kwabre business centres.
And to ensure the early completion of the project, he said 65 contracts had been signed for the execution of the project.
“When completed, the project will improve on the performance of ECG distribution network system in the Ashanti Region, specifically reducing the distribution system losses both technical and commercial, reducing the frequency and duration of outages and improving the voltage level at the end user’s level,” he said.
Customer service centres
Mr Boakye-Appiah said as part of the company’s resolve to bring its services closer to the doorstep of its consumers, it was opening more service centres.
The company recently opened one at Ahinsan for customers in and around Ahinsan, Atonsu, Agogo and its environs. Attached to the service centres are Faults and Maintenance units to readily assist consumers in times of need.
It has opened four others in Ejisu, Juaso, Afrancho and Ahenema Kokoben, all within the Ashanti Region.
Another innovation the company is introducing to improve on its service delivery is the Point of Sale (POS) devices where consumers will readily purchase their credit without necessarily going to a service centre.
He said all these were geared towards making the services of the company more customer-friendly.
Briefing the media, the Project Manager, Mr Frederick Kwabena Bediako, said the project had taken into consideration the future expansion and development of the areas covered under the project and made provision to cater for their needs.
That, he said, was to ensure that the transformers were able to supply the future power needs of the communities as the communities expanded and more residential and commercial buildings sprang up.
That, according to him, was contrary to what pertained previously where some of the transformers could not meet the power needs of the communities, resulting in a low voltage.