Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh

The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) is demanding that the Energy Minister fix the erratic power supply experienced in the country and stop blaming the erstwhile Mahama-government.

Benjamin Boakye, the Executive Director of the Centre said that although the previous administration contributed to the energy sector problems, the current government cannot be absorbed from the challenges.

According to him, government’s failure to invest into the transmission infrastructure in order to accommodate the rising demand for power has contributed to the ailing energy sector.

“Everybody, technical and knowledgeable persons in the space, know that the problem has been money. We are getting tired of 10 years of blaming the past and not fixing the situation and the problem. The Americans are giving us money to do Pokuase and Kasoa.”

“Take that money out, what will it have been able to do on its own? GRIDCo today said it needs $700 million to be able to do other infrastructure that is required. Where is the money going to come from? That is what we need the minister to tell us” ACEP Executive Director said.

Energy Minister, Dr. Mathew Opoku Prempeh at the press conference Sunday to update the nation on Ghana’s energy situation recollected how some poorly negotiated Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) under the John Mahama government is having a toll on the energy sector.

He described all 40 PPAs signed under the Mahama administration amid the power crisis between 2013 and 2016 as costly which resulted in tariffs on power going up by over 200 percent.

He further revealed that three of these PPAs have been deferred under a renegotiated ‘Take and Pay’ arrangement, saving the nation $1.4 billion each year.

But the ACEP Executive Director said government could have made more savings if it was diligent enough to scrutinise the other contracts such as the PPA with Ghana Power Generation Company which resulted in about $160 million judgment debts.

Mr. Boakye said these judgment payments could have been avoided in 2017 if the government had taken proactive decisions.

Also at the press conference, the Energy Minister said that “..the problems (power outages) are not financial because the problems are being solved, and we pleaded with Ghanaians to bear with us. We work to make the power supply more dependable in the country. I also urge you to ignore those making wishful thinking on the situation.”

But speaking, Mr. Boakye insisted that the ‘dumsor’ that is experienced in the country is due to financial challenges contrary to the claims of the government.

He also dismissed the government’s claims that the energy sector debt is declining. According to him, the debt accumulation is more than what the government is paying; resulting in ballooning debt stock.

Mr. Boakye believes that the lack of honesty and blame game will not help fix the challenges in the power sector.

“The recollection of history rarely doesn’t change what the reality is. Sometimes the recollection doesn’t paint the real picture and that is where the problem is. If you really want to tell us what the problem in the energy sector really is, you can appreciate that the past government contributed to it but you cannot paint a picture like the current government is an angel in the situation. That will be an unfair treatment of the situation in the problem that we have” he said.

He, however, called for an honest and truthful conversation in getting the problems that have bedeviled the energy sector resolved.