Power crisis bite manufacturers

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The power crisis in the country is negatively affecting the country’s manufacturing sector.

Some companies like Unilever NV and Coca-Cola Company are beginning to feel the full brunt.

The state of affairs has also driven the mines and steel industries to forfeit 25 percent of their load to allow the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to use that to balance power supply to other areas, Ing. Tetteh Okine, Head of Operations at ECG, disclosed this to the media in Accra on Tuesday.

“We have had a number of meetings with stakeholders – Industry and Chamber of Mines. We came out with certain agreements on load-shedding, hence the publication of a new timetable. We are going to observe how this time-table operates so that if there is the need to relook it we shall do so.”

By the new arrangement, which started on Monday and continues till January 1, 2015, factories will lose power for 48 hours and then have continuous supply for six days. Residential areas will also have 24 hours supply after they have endured power cuts for 12 hours. Other companies that will experience power cuts include GHACEM, Fan Milk Limited and Accra Brewery Limited.

Maximum power required in Ghana currently stands at about 2,000 megawatts. In the early part of 2014, the difference between demand and supply expanded as high as 600 megawatts.

The ECG is reducing supply to factories by 120 megawatts and by 300 megawatts to homes, Stephen Doku, Director of Power at the Ministry of Energy, has noted.

He said in ECG’s interaction with leadership of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), it came out that about 80 percent of members were located within residential areas.

Only 20 percent are within areas demarcated as industrial areas. The load-shedding was disturbing majority of AGI members that was why we came out with this new time-table – 12 hours of outage and 24 hours of supply, he said.

Members of AGI, he explained, preferred to have supply for six days and go off for two days, adding that Sundays were not inclusive.

“We are going to monitor this for a period and see how effective it will be. If there is the need to tweak it again we will come back. The committee meets every Monday to assess the report. We are planning with what is available. Let’s all wait to see what happens when the new units come on board.

As if to spell out the incompetence of the Energy Ministry, government established a Ministry of Power in November to deal with power crisis.

ECG has also shut down two turbines of the Akosombo Dam because of low water levels.

Government, in October this year, said it planned to add 770 megawatts of supply to the national grid by 2015.

source : Daily Guide