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We cannot draw load shedding timetable — PDS

BY: Salomey Appiah-Adjei
Public Relations Manager of PDS, Mr William Boateng
Public Relations Manager of PDS, Mr William Boateng

Power Distribution Service (PDS), electricity service provider, has stated that it cannot draw a load shedding timetable as was being requested by a section of the public.

This is in spite of power outages in parts of the country over the past few weeks.

There has been a demand from the public for a load shedding timetable following intermittent power outages in the country but according to the service providers, since the current deficit in power generation was not fixed it could not draw a loadshedding time-table.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Public Relations Manager of PDS, Mr William Boateng, said “shortfalls in the quantum of power being generated are not fixed but fluctuates. However, we need a fixed quantum of power to shed to enable us to plan and come out with a timetable.”

Public demand for timetable

The Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Mr Benjamin Boakye, for instance had called for a load shedding time-table to be published, saying it would help the public plan their lives.

Also, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) had urged the government to admit that the days of power outages were back and therefore must publish a timetable to guide consumers.

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But Mr Boateng explained that sometimes the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) which tranmitted power to the PDS for distribution was compelled to step down some of the PDS bulk supply points in order to save the whole system from total collapse.

“When it happens like that a greater part of the country goes off at once and while it is not the best, in a crisis situation it is the only way to save the whole power system,” he said.

Additionally, he said, sometimes the amount of power that was shed either went up or down at any time as required.

“For instance, in a six-hour period in say Accra, power could peak and about 200 megawatts shed within the same time period and when that happens we cannot plan,” Mr Boateng said.

The challenge

At a press conference held by the Ministry of Energy last Monday, it said the power outages being experienced in some parts of the country was due to the total shutdown of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant in the Western Region.

According to the ministry, the power outages were not the result of lack of funds to purchase fuel to power electricity generating plants but were due to a total shutdown of the Atuabo Plant to make way for Ghana Gas to interlink its systems with the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo).

Also at the press conference, the Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Power, Mr William Owuraku Aidoo, apologised to the public for the erratic power supply to some parts of the country.

He said the power challenges would last for a period of 12 days when it was expected that all processes to bring about a stable power supply would have been successfully completed.

He said alternative arrangements had been made for the supply of adequate fuel to make up for the shortfall in the supply of gas within the period of the shutdown.

Value chain

According to Mr Boateng, the power industry operated a value chain system where the Volta River Authority (VRA) generated power that was transmitted by GRIDCo and distributed by PDS.

Therefore, he said, whatever happened upstream affected operations downstream. In effect, the PDS distributed what they got from GRIDCo.

“PDS has never shied away from informing its customers anytime there was a challenge with the distribution system, including making announcements,” he said.

He apologised for the inconveniences caused by the power outages, saying that, “immediately the problem upstream is resolved PDS will offer quality and reliable power to its customers.”

Background

Last Saturday, GRIDCo requested for a total power load reduction of 300 megawatts (MW) beginning from 8a.m. to 6p.m.

The move followed the reported shutdown of the Atuabo Plant located in the Western Region for mandatory maintenance after a valve in the facility was closed at 9.25 a.m. on March 30 for a 12-day shutdown to complete the final tie-in works under the Takoradi-Tema interconnection project.

The resultant termination of gas flow from the west compelled GRIDCo to request a reduction in the load in Accra and Tema and the Ashanti, Central, Western, Eastern and Volta regions, totalling 300MW.

Early last week, the PDS announced an 8a.m. to 5p.m. power outage in some parts of the Volta Region and the Tema municipality for maintenance works to be carried out by the company.