VRA to begin test transmission of Kpone Thermal Power Plant

BY: Della Russel Ocloo
Dr Charles Wereko Brobby (2nd right), making a remark at the stakeholders meeting with public utility providers. With him include Dr Nii Moi Ashong (left) and Mr Jonathan Nunu (right), board members of the PURC.

The Volta River Authority (VRA) is set to begin test transmission of the newly built 220 megawatts (MW) Kpone Thermal Power Plant.

The project, which took off in October 2012 with the construction of two gas turbines at a cost of $220-million, will each produce 110 megawatts of electricity.

The dual-fuel turbines could be operated on natural gas and diesel.

 


The test transmission would identify minor challenges in the installation of the plant ahead of the beginning of production at the plant.

The Director of Business Development at the VRA, Mr Kofi Ellis, announced this at a meeting with stakeholder bodies on tariff adjustments.

In attendance were representatives of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) and civil society groups.

The VRA is demanding GH26p per kilowatt hour (kh) for power produced, while GRIDCo is demanding GH4p to GH5.3 pesewas per unit increment, which represents 32 per cent increment.

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is also making a demand for GH¢16.5 pesewas per unit to GH¢35.5 pesewas per unit, while Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), on the other hand, is calling for an increment of GH¢4 per cubic metre of water produced from the GH¢1.78.

Inadequate funds

Mr Ellis indicated that the VRA continued to post losses in its operations due to the continued decline of the cedi against major trading currencies.

He said he was worried that while the independent power producers (IPPs) did not justify the rate of increase for power they produced, but were often paid on time and in foreign currency, the public utilities often were subjected to the need to justify to the public why they ought to be given an increase in tariffs.

Mr Ellis indicated that “There is also no form of planning in the country’s power systems leading to a number of generations being fed into the system, as such creating operational challenges”, Mr Ellis lamented.

An energy economist at GRIDCo, Mr Kofi Owiredu, for his part, indicated that the company had installed solar panels at its substations as part of efficiency measures.

GWCL

The acting Chief Commercial Manager at GWCL, Mr Kenneth Ennin,  indicated that high pollution had made the treatment of water very difficult, “as we use more chemicals, implying increase in cost of production”.

“For every cubic metre of water (1m3) equivalent to 220 gallons, GWCL produces this at GH¢8, while we are mandated to sell at only GH¢1.78, causing us to lose some GH¢6.22 on every cubic metre of water produced”, Mr Ennin said.

Industry players

Nana Agyenim Boateng of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industries expressed worry that many businesses had continued to suffer decline in profits due to the power crises.

A former Chief Executive Officer of the VRA, Dr Charles Wereko Brobby, was, however, of the view that the focus ought to be placed on how the providers could get sustained power for the country.

“Public Utilities Regulations Commission (PURC) must examine the proposals critically. It is important the PURC begins to look closely at the power sector and ensure roles are delegated well in order not to overburden organisations unnecessarily”, Dr Brobby said.

He stressed that while the providers were given a 100 per cent increment in 2001, because it was agreed they needed that to ensure reliability in supply, the emerging situation where ECG had to take on so many generation cost because of the IPP, ought to be looked at again.

A member of the PURC, Dr Adu Gyamfi, assured the stakeholders that the PURC would subject the proposals to further scrutiny to enable it to take decisions that would create a win-win situation for both providers and the end-users.