Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould, says the current power outages (dumsor) experienced in Ghana is as a result of technical and financial constraints.
According to him, the recent dumsor has nothing to do with generational capacity because Ghana's power generational capacity is in so much excess and it has become a liability.
Commenting on the recent power cuts in parts of the country on Joy Prime's PM Express, on Thursday April 4, Mr Mould said: “Dumsor [power cuts] is when you have the technical issues and the financial issues and these two worlds collide and boom, you have dumsor.”
Government officials have maintained the power cuts are temporary because they are the result of technical issues but energy experts have countered this saying financial challenges in the sector point to a bigger problem.
But Mr Mould said dumsor is always the collision of both technical and financial challenges.
He explained: “Technical issues are when you have plants that are not maintained properly and these plants require periodic maintenance and when that is not done, they sometimes go off in an unplanned manner. Also, you have capacity constraints. You have don’t have enough capacity you have to bring more generation capacity.
“On the financial side, when you are not able to raise the necessary letters of credit to bring in crude oil or pay for fuel consumption from the purchase of gas…”
He said the country should not be going through power cuts because, since 2016, Ghana took firm steps to ensure there was enough capacity.
“In fact, we have over-capacity. What people don’t know is that we have so much capacity that we are paying almost 500 million dollars a year for not using the capacity. So capacity is not the problem,” he said.
Ghana currently has close to 4,420MW installed capacity, nearly 100% more than it needs. The country needs only 2,500 megawatts at peak hours to power homes or businesses.
Commenting further on the cause of the persistent power challenges, he said the problem is hydra-headed.
“The problem now is either inadequate planning, unavailability of free gas…or because you can’t raise the required letters of credit from your banks to be able to bring in crude oil…” he said.
Meanwhile, the government has promised to prevent a return of the debilitating power crisis of 2011 and 2012 and has set a 12-day deadline – which elapses next week.
Mr Mould said, “there is a general problem in the power industry which is the credibility of the players in the industry and the creditworthiness of the players in the industry and I think we should talk about that.”