Ghana’s power rationing could get worse after tomorrow if government does not deal with a $180-million debt owed gas supplier Nigeria Gas.
According to the former Chief Executive Officer of the national power generator, Volta River Authority, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, Nigerian authorities have given a tomorrow deadline to “hear something satisfactory” from the Ghana government.
Nigeria has threatened to reduce the volume of gas it supplies through the 678-kilometre stretch of pipeline to Ghana if it does not get information on how Ghana plans to pay the money.
“If we lose the gas supply from Nigeria, then it means that the dumsor (load shedding) will intensify,” the energy expert told Joy News yesterday.
Sources at the Volta River Authority (VRA) confirmed this to The Finder.
Nigeria manages the West African Gas Pipeline Authority, which regulates gas supply from Nigeria to customers in Benin, Togo and Ghana.
Ghana has a deal to receive a contractual volume of 120 million standard cubic feet of gas daily.
But the partnership, heralded as a significant break-through when gas from Nigeria hit Ghana in December 2008, has been troublesome on an uncomfortable number of occasions.
Government has in the past held several discussions with Nigeria over the payment of the longstanding debt.
The cycle of debt-inspired power cuts has plagued Ghana’s energy sector. It happened in November 2014 and again in March 2015.
The size of the debt was put at about $100 million in March 2015 and forced Nigeria to cut gas supply from 123 million to 49 million cubic feet.
The result was another chaotic distribution of power to consumers.
Although Ghana is expecting some significant reprieve from barges coming from Turkey, the power can only be available in November.
“Now, the problem for us in stopping dumsor is not the arrival or non-arrival of the barge,” Dr Wereko-Brobby said.
It cannot be confirmed how much Ghana could lose if Nigeria acts on its threat to cut gas supply again.
But according to Dr Wereko-Brobby, Sunon Asogli Power Plant, which is an Independent Power Plant, runs solely on gas from Nigeria and will be grounded if gas supplies cease.
It generates 200 Megawatts.
According to Dr Wereko-Brobby, government also owes Atuabo Gas Company more than¢100 million.
Ghana’s power crisis has been cyclical but the current round began in 2011 after a boat on the high seas damaged parts of the West African gas supply pipeline.
What began as a technical problem has become a full-blown crisis which many believe is now more financial than technical.