Rehabilitation of transmission lines will improve power supply — GRIDCo

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Technicians working on the new 26 kilometre line from Tema to Achimota substation. PICTURES BY: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO
Technicians working on the new 26 kilometre line from Tema to Achimota substation. PICTURES BY: DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO

The Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) has explained that the ongoing installation of new transmission lines is to increase power transfer capacity from 400 megawatts (MW) to 1,900MW to reduce redundancy of power in the transmission lines.

The 26-kilometre lines being constructed from the Volta Sub-station in Tema to Achimota, with an extension to the Accra Bulk Supply Station at Mallam, according to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mr Jonathan Amoako-Baah, would significantly improve power supply reliability.

The project, which is part of a nationwide rehabilitation of lines, started three years ago under the Agence de France de Development financing of $173 million and is expected to be completed by September 2021.

Mr Amoako-Baah said work resumed in January this year after the financiers had withdrawn the initial funding last year, necessitating a Presidential intervention.

The CEO gave the explanation in Tema yesterday when the Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, together with the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, paid a working visit to the company to ascertain the cause of ongoing power outages in parts of the country, with the Ashanti Region being the worst hit.

PHOTO: Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh (2nd left), Minister of Energy being led to tour the project site. PICTURE BY DELLA RUSSEL OCLOO.

Obsolete lines

Mr Amoako-Baah said the existing lines had become congested and obsolete, making the transmission of power on them challenging, hence the need for new installations to address the deficiencies in the system.

“The new lines will be connected to the existing system to allow for load transfer, while new sub-stations will also be constructed at Kasoa and Pokuase, which have become densely populated, as part of efforts to reduce the outages resulting from excessive pressure on the Mallam Sub-station,” he said.

The CEO further said whereas the Kumasi situation was being addressed by the relocation of the Ameri Power plant, as well as the construction of new transmission lines from Ahomaso to Kintampo, GRIDCo’s ability to undertake construction of the 330 kilovolt (KV) Pokuase to Kumasi line would tremendously improve the reliability of power within the southern sector.

“For now, the Ministry of Finance is negotiating for a loan of about €80 million with KfW, a German development bank, to enable us to commence that project,” Mr Amoako-Baah said.

High-capacity lines

The Director of System Operations at GRIDCo, Mr Mark Baah, who gave an overview of the project, said it involved the installation of high-capacity lines which would enable the company to undertake maintenance work without necessarily having to take consumers off the grid.

“What we are seeking to do is increase reliability of the grid lines with the construction of this new project, which will also see a new sub-station constructed at Pokuase to serve the entire eastern part of Accra, without having to depend on supplies from Achimota,” he added.

“Whenever we do such work, there are obstacles we experience which may require an outage for a period of time. However, as and when it becomes necessary to do so, we will inform the public or the affected areas,” the Director of Engineering at GRIDCo, Mr John Owusu-Afriyie, said.

Pressure on lines

For his part, Dr Opoku Prempeh said the recent power outages were not due to financial challenges but obsolete transmission lines, coupled with population increase, which was also putting pressure on the system.

“Once the system upgrades are ongoing, I expect these challenges to be addressed,” he said.

The minister dismissed suggestions for power providers to outline a timetable on the outages to allow the public to plan around them, saying: “Dumsor was what we saw prior to 2016 when a timetable was rolled out by the then government.”

“If we have systems where lights are flickering and voltages are low and sometimes lines may be down owing to a broken conductor, it does not automatically mean we have challenges to warrant a timetable,” Dr Opoku Prempeh said.