On the night of Friday October 30, 2020, when the elite in Ghana’s Energy sector gathered to strut their stuff along the corridors of Movenpick Hotel, it was Ghana Grid Company that got the better of the lot. It was a fine evening of backslapping and award giving and GRIDCo took away, perhaps the most relevant – Energy Company of the Year (Power sector) and Brand of the Year.
Power is a crucial component of the modern economy of any developing country and in Ghana, GRIDCo’s role as the monopolistic transmitter, is essential to the sustenance of the value chain across the sub-region.
At the height of the power sector reforms in Ghana, which started in the middle 1990s, the John Kufuor administration finally decided to split the Volta River Authority (VRA) into two components – the VRA for generation and a new company, Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) for transmission.
The new company, formed in 2008, was instantly forgettable. But not for long, as it had, in no time, gained a strong reputation in the value chain and an enviable place as a transmission livewire in Ghana and across the sub-region.
GRIDCo’s achievements over the past few years have been immense. An unprecedented financial transformation last year comes to mind when it emerged from a Net Loss position of GH¢114.3million in 2018 to a Net Profit of GH¢29.6million at the end of 2019.
The exemplary leadership displayed by its Board and Management team, led by Chief Executive Jonathan Amoako-Baah, has ensured consistency in the transmission of power to key distributors – ECG, Valco and the mining companies – as well as to key countries in the sub-region, including Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast. Electricity access in Ghana, thanks to their efforts, has increased from an above average of 66.7% in 2009 to a figure over 85% last year.
The company’s proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, that hit at the beginning of this year, was a test of resilient leadership. Weeks before the Country’s President instituted a lockdown, GRIDCo’s leadership team had already activated a Business Continuity Plan and had made remote working an integral part of its schedule.
A sizeable number of staff were made to stay at home and work in order to reduce the numbers and encourage social distancing. At the workplace, safety protocols such as temperature checks, hand-washing routines, social distancing rules, relentless internal communication to staff on the pandemic and a comprehensive provision of PPEs for all staff and contractors across its nine operational areas, were initiated.
The company then stepped up its engagement with all the key players in the sector value chain – eager and desperate to avoid disruptions to power supply in the country. Later when a staff tested positive for the virus, the company was adamant. It took proactive steps and instituted a mass testing exercise for all employees in order for positive cases to be identified, isolated and treated.
Strong leadership makes for a strong institution, and GRIDCo’s ability to embrace the setbacks of the pandemic, as an advantage to lead the way in the sector, chimed brilliantly with the Awards Committee.
“As a catalyst organisation, sitting between the generators and distributors, we cannot afford to keep our eye off the ball. We have worked hard over the years to position the company as a viable player across West Africa. These awards are a product of an attitude of not resting on our laurels. There’s more to come,” said Chief Executive, Jonathan Amoako-Baah.