Former Power Minister, John Jinapor

Ranking Member on the Mines and Energy Committee in Parliament has asked government to come clean about the challenges the energy sector is facing amid the intermittent power outages the country is currently experiencing.

John Jinapor in a letter stated that recent power outages are only increasing despite government assurance that the energy sector is being managed well.

Consequently, this has affected many households and destroyed their gadgets as well, he added.

“It should be noted that since the beginning of the year, GRIDCo alone has given six different reasons for the major national outages aside the intermittent localised blackouts.”

“What is even more disturbing is despite confirmation from GRIDCo that the country will continue to experience these power outages into the foreseeable future for which reason they promised to publish a load management schedule, the schedule has been put on hold due to political pressure from the executive,” he added.

The former Deputy Energy Minister stated that government has resorted to political chicanery, denial and misinformation to explain the current crisis instead of admitting their “shortcomings and being honest with Ghanaians.”

He stated that the ordinary Ghanaian is rather made to bear the brunt of this “avoidable” power outages.

“Government must therefore come clean on the current power crisis as a matter of urgency and desist from engaging in blame game. Shifting blame and providing conflicting information only goes to exacerbate the crisis which is threatening lives and businesses across the country.”

Mr Jinapor’s comment comes after the Energy Minister, Matthew Opoku Prempeh assured citizens that the country was not experiencing dumsor.

Speaking to the media during his visit to GRIDCo, he added that, the current system upgrade is responsible for the intermittent power outage urging citizens to remain calm while the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) works to address the intermittent power outage.

He said that that most of the transmission lines currently transporting electricity to the various substations were old and works are underway to improve them leading to the outages.

“As far as we can see, the projects is an ongoing project and so it is not about finances, it’s just like when you are renovating your house, sometimes it’s more complicated and expensive than even building a new house,” he said.

However, Mr Jinapor believes the power outages has little to do with technical upgrades and more with financial challenges.

He stated that the transmission lines and transformers are congested due to underinvestment and lack of regular maintenance resulting from the poor financial health of the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in the energy sector.

“Indeed, it will be recalled that in March 2018, the current CEO of GRIDCo cautioned that the Country was likely to experience major power supply challenges. This was after President Akufo-Addo took a populist decision to usurp the authority of the PURC by slashing the revenue flows of GRIDCo and other utility agencies.”

“Unfortunately, this caution fell on deaf ears. It is therefore not surprising that electricity consumers (Ghanaians) find ourselves in this difficult but avoidable situation.”

Mr Jinapor added that despite the Akufo-Addo government inheriting over ¢12 billion in ESLA revenues and almost 20 billion in petroleum revenues, most of the SOEs in the energy sector continues to witness worsening financial positions.

Comparably, he said the Mahama government was honest with Ghanaians when the nation was confronted with similar challenges at the time.

He stated that the NDC in power implemented pragmatic policies to comprehensively address the challenge and subsequently handed over a “resilient and robust” energy sector to President Akufo-Addo.

Mr Jinapor said that government must stop shifting blame adding that the current crisis is threatening lives and businesses across the country.