The Volta River Authority (VRA) is hopeful that government’s pledge of ensuring constant power supply by the end of this year is attainable but attributed the recent worsening power supply to the challenges with gas flow from the Atuabo gas plant.
“The current worsening situation will end very soon as measures are being put in place to normalize the situation. We are having challenges with gas flow from Atuabo,” said the Head of Corporate Communications at VRA, Samuel Fletcher.
The power crisis has worsened over the past few weeks. Consequently, the initial load-shedding timetable designed to shed between 300MW and 400MW of power and allowed consumers to enjoy 24 hours off after 12 hours of power is no longer being followed.
Tullow Oil Ghana, last week announced an unplanned shutdown of its FPSO at the Jubilee field, rendering the gas processing plant at Atuabo unproductive.
The situation has contributed to the intensity of the power crisis, increasing the power deficit from 400 to 600 megawatts.
Mr. Fletcher explained that though the water levels in Akosombo have partly contributed to the low power supply, the Dam has been running four units and is still doing four units, but thermal challenges that we are having has to do with gas.
“If you have a challenge like a cut in the supply of gas it is a big challenge for the generation companies, and therefore we hope that very soon we will hear good news,” he stated.
He said the VRA is still monitoring to see when exactly there is a rise in the water level in the Akosombo dam as little improvement seen in the rate of drop of water has reduced.
“We were dropping at about .05, .06 some time ago and today we are dropping at a rate between .01 and .03 which is an indication that some water is gradually coming into the lake. We are monitoring to see when it levels out then it starts rising so that is the story of Akosombo.”
He explained that though some plants are running on crude and not necessarily gas, there are other machines that are “configured only to run on gas and when there is no gas they just have to sit.”
“Those that are running on crude are running, but I have also made this statement over and over again that besides the cost of production of running on crude, you also have a lot of challenges when you run on crude in the sense that, that kind of fuel is heavier than the usual gas. “
“When you run on gas, your machines perform better than when you run on crude oil and also quite a number of challenges; crude oil is heavy, it has some metals in it and all that etc. so if we had our way and if we have gas available 24/7 we will be running on gas, but those machines that are configured to run on crude oil are running on crude oil.”
Mr. Fletcher was optimistic the challenge will be resolved soon.