VRA workers kick against proposed sale of thermal plants

VRA workers kick against proposed sale of thermal plants
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Naa Sakwaba Akwa | faustine.akwa@myjoyonline.com
Date: 19-09-2017 Time: 12:09:01:pm

Workers of the Volta River Authority (VRA) are bent on preventing the government from selling off some of the Authority's thermal plants.

The workers say the proposed sale of the thermal plants if seen through, will be detrimental to consumers and workers of the Authority.

According to the workers, the sale will result in, among other things astronomical electricity bills, power distribution to key institutions if bills are not paid on time and layoffs.

The workers at a news conference Tuesday, are livid about the government’s intentions and want it reversed, Joy News Maxwell Agbagba reported.

Chairman of the Senior Staff Association, Cephas Duse said the sale of VRA’s thermal assets and “significant portions of the energy sector may lead to higher energy bills as evident in the higher cost per kilowatt hour for the IPP’s. We sell at 41 pesewas, they sell at 54 pesewas.

“The sale of VRA’s thermal assets will expose distribution companies and Ghanaian consumers to additional foreign exchange exposures,” he added.

The government last month advertised the sale of at least the majority stake of some thermal plants owned by the VRA.

The advertisement, which was placed in the Daily Graphic indicated that the sale forms “part of the government’s efforts to restructure the energy sector.”

Government also said the VRA was not doing a good enough job with the management of the thermal plants, and should focus on just hydro power generation.

But the move has been condemned by workers of the Authority and the Minority. The Minority believes the sale of the assets should not be an option for government.

The workers say if government is indeed interested in making the Authority efficient, profitable and help it compete favourably in the energy market, they should ensure that the Authority’s assets are not sold out.

They want government to constitute a governing board immediately for VRA as prescribed in Section 3 of the VRA Act.

“I urge those in the Ministry of Energy and Finance Ministry to stop micro-managing VRA and allow the governance structures to work.

“What VRA needs at this material moment is a board and the debts in the power sector cleared to make VRA’s books look good,” Mr Duse said.

He added that government should stop compelling the VRA to sell power to customers like the Volta Allummnium Company (VALCO) at subsidised rates.

“Somebody must pay for the power, there is no free lunch,” he said.

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