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Major power transmission lines to be reconstructed - GRIDCo

BY: Mary Anane-Amponsah
Ebenezer Essienyi, CEO of GRIDCo, addressing journalists at the press conference. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Ebenezer Essienyi, CEO of GRIDCo, addressing journalists at the press conference. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

Major power transmission lines are to be reconstructed to ensure an effective supply of electricity in the country, Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) has said.

It said three major lines — western corridor, coastal and middle — have all outlived their usefulness and, therefore, required immediate reconstruction.

Taking his turn at the Meet-the-Press series in Accra yesterday [June 6, 2022], the Chief Executive Officer of GRIDCo, Ebenezer Kofi Essienyi, said the old lines, which were built in the 1960s, were contributing to significant losses for the company.

The western corridor lines stretch from Takoradi to Dunkwa area; coastal lines — Aboadze-Cape Coast-Winneba-Kasoa-Mallam, while the middle lines stretch from Akosombo-Tafo-Nkawkaw-Kumasi.

The press briefing focused on the demand outlook of the company, operational challenges, transmission constraints and upcoming projects.

Projects

Mr Essiennyi said the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) had been engaging the company to reconstruct the lines to reduce the transmission losses.

At the moment, he said the company was considering the reconstruction of the major lines from Tema to Accra to increase the voltage and transmission capacity to reduce transmission losses.

Mr Essiennyi also said as part of its energy supply plan, the company had submitted to PURC a 161kv Aboadze-Cape Coast –Winneba-Mallam transmission line project to be completed in 2026; 161KV Mallam to Pokuase transmission lines to be complete in 2024, and 161kv middle corridor transmission lines.

He mentioned other major projects to include the Ghana-Germany Compact and improvement of the Southwestern infrastructure (western corridor transmission upgrade project) and the construction of a back-up control centre to manage the grid.

According to the CEO, the first two projects were expected to commence this year with the necessary support.

He said GRIDCo had about 14 generating companies with installed capacity of 5,246 megawatts and 5,500 transmission lines.

Mr Essienyi said power demand of the country had now increased to 3,469 megawatts as of March 8, 2022, from 3,246 megawatts in 2021 with a projected increase to 3,600 megawatts by the end of year.

He further mentioned redial lines as some of the challenges the company was grappling with, saying “we have lines that are radial in nature and, therefore, when they go off and we need to work on them, consumers must be off for the period of the work”.

“Tamale-Yendi is a radial line, and Asiekpe to Kadjebi is also a radial line. So if anything happens to Asiekpe, let’s say Ho, the rest of the lines up to the North, including Kadjebi will be off”, the CEO added.

Operational challenges

Other operational bottlenecks include overgrowth under transmission lines in the forest, encroachment of right of way and activities of illegal miners (galamseyers).

“It is a real challenge. It is extremely dangerous and we need to understand the risk associated with a tower collapsing or the conductor falling or impeding the work of technicians,” the CEO said.

Mr Essienyi said his outfit was setting up a task force made up of three teams who would be equipped to monitor the right of ways in the Ashanti Region — Kumasi-Obuasi-Northern side enclave; Western Region- Takoradi-Tarkwa-Cape Coast-Winneba enclave, and Tema- Accra-Volta-Kadjebi areas.

He said they were also introducing drone technology to inspect electricity lines for timely repairs.