The Executive Director of the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye, has called on the government and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to institute measures to deal with power theft.

According to him, if the issue of power theft is not addressed, it is going to be much more difficult to meet those payment obligations to Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

“If you look at how much the government is supposed to put in cumulatively every month, it's about GH₵250 million to be able to offset the inefficiencies in the energy sector. And all these payments are being made by the people of Ghana. So what that simply means is that once power is generated, transmitted and sent to the distribution company ECG, almost half of what they're supposed to recover cannot be recovered,” Mr Boakye said on Newsfile on Saturday.

“Therefore, the Ministry of Finance has to intervene on a monthly basis to the tune of about GH₵250 million. That is the state of the energy sector. So what that means is that the money that we need to be able to pay other commitments like roads, health infrastructure, and education is being used to pay electricity bills. I don't think that is a rosy situation that anybody should celebrate. And even that, paying has become a challenge because the money doesn't even exist for the government to always respond to that commitment,” he added.

Mr Boakye told sit-in host, Emefa Apawu, that the ECG is engaging in optics rather than coming up with pragmatic solutions to deal with the challenge, to make sure that the company can live up to its responsibility and save the public payers from this leakage.

“We have people stealing power and we don't have a solution to it to be able to address the theft and then you see the optics, you know, ECG goes to stand before Parliament and say that I'm disconnecting parliament. Even at one point they were at the Ministry of Finance to go and disconnect Ministry of Finance when people are stealing power. 

“Look at the fact that the Ministry of Finance and Government is paying up to GH₵255 million a month. You should not even have the moral temerity to even go close to any government facility to disconnect power.”

Mr. Boakye's comments follow the recurring power outages in the country in recent times and concerns raised by the Minority in Parliament on February 29 that the energy sector is collapsing.

Ranking member of Parliament's Mines and Energy Committee, John Jinapor stressed that the load-shedding was becoming more severe, even on important events such as the State of the Nation Address.

He believes the power distribution company's decision to undertake load-shedding on such occasions only indicates that the power challenges is worsening.

However, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has assured Ghanaians to expect power supply to normalise soon.

Read also: ‘Dumsor’ is not back – ECG boss says of current power outages

According to the Managing Director of ECG, Samuel Mahama, the current power outages are a result of maintenance work which the power distribution company failed to communicate to the public.

But, Mr Boakye said there is a real challenge with electricity generation, explaining that demand continues to expand relative to generation, which he said is not enough. 

Compounding the situation, he said, is the issue of some power plants going under maintenance and not generating as much power as they should.

“So we had a significant deficit that had to be accounted for. And the way to even manage it was to sacrifice the exports. So we're exporting to Togo, Benin, and Burkina and GRIDCo has been cutting supply to those countries so that they can reduce the impact of the deficit."

"And even if we discount that, we still have close to 300 megawatts of load that were being shed which needed proper communication to let the people know that we don't have enough generation and therefore we're going to be taking out power.”

Mr Boakye added, “We don't know how this is going to pan out in the coming days. If we don't get more gas from Nigeria, pay them on time for them to sustain supply and also get some liquid fuel, this situation will persist for some time to come,” he added.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.