The Institute for Energy Security (IES) is demanding more details to the cause of the recent power outages experienced across the country.
The Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) in different press statements have attributed the power outages to a cut in supply of gas to power plants.
But in press release, IES said the explanations provided by GRIDCo is insufficient.
“It will be recalled that the power supply cuts on Wednesday, 27 February 2021 and Sunday, 3 March 2021 were attributed to Gas supply challenges from the offshore fields and the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo) respectively. We are however yet to understand the full extent of factors that accounted for the total blackout experienced on Sunday, 7 March 2021,” the statement said.
Below is the full statement
8th March 2021
GRIDCo MUST PRODUCE BETTER PARTICULARS ON RECENT GRID COLLAPSES: IES
The Institute for Energy Security (IES) has noted with concern the increasing rate at which Ghana’s transmission grid collapses, resulting in several interruptions in power supply to homes, businesses and other places. More worrying is how the interruptions have heightened since the beginning of this year, and the kind of explanations put forward.
It will be recalled that the power supply cuts on Wednesday, 27th February 2021 and Sunday, 3rd March 2021 were attributed to Gas supply challenges from the offshore fields and the West Africa Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo) respectively. We are however yet to understand the full extent of factors that accounted for the total blackout experienced on Sunday, 7 March 2021.
Aside these major power supply cuts, there have been several reports of power outages in parts of the country that have until date not been explained.
With respect to Sunday, 06 March 2021 incident, GRIDCo explained in a new statement that “the total power system shutdown experienced at 14:10 GMT was due to technical fault on one of the major transmission lines between Prestea and Obuasi, leading to a sequence of trips and eventual power system shutdown in the country”. What GRIDCo’s statement failed to do is to put across the kind of technical fault that occur, leading to the system collapse.
Checks conducted by IES indicates that the tripping of the Prestea to Obuasi line occurred at 13:46 GMT causing voltages in the middle belt to collapse. Under such a circumstance, operators on site are required to act swiftly and salvage a total shutdown by taking some customers off the grid to prevent a cascading trip of connected transmission lines as it happened at 14:10 GMT.
GRIDCo must explain to the taxpayer and consumer on the cause of the power trip at the Prestea to Obuasi transmission line that cascaded into other trips in the system. The IES will like to also understand the cause for the delay in salvaging the situation that eventually led to the total shutdown. Particularly, what operators did between 13:46 GMT and 14:09 GMT, as a way of preventing a total shutdown of the transmission grid.
It may interest Ghanaians to know that the overload created in the transmission system due to the Prestea to Obuasi transmission line failure, caused some power generating plants to trip, and forcing the others to shut down. It took Asogli’s quick-start technology to restore the grid, and helping others to come online.
The IES is concerned with incidents of power plant tripping from transmission system disturbances, because the trip can lead to equipment failure due to the sudden load rejection. Additionally, the thermal shocks to the systems because of load rejection has the effect of reducing the life span of generating units.
While calling for accountability from the GRIDCo, the IES wish to state that it sympathizes with the operator, knowing well that cash-flow challenges due to delayed payments of receivables, is having a toll on the operations of the company.
The IES understands that the main challenge leading to these power cuts has been the poor maintenance and upgrades of the power transmission system owing to GRIDCo’s illiquidity, which continues to render the grid weak and unable to withstand shocks. The poor maintenance regime due to the liquidity challenge of the operator is evident in the increasing levels of transmission losses in recent times.
The IES therefore call on the Government to work to address the cash-flow challenges of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and other sectoral utilities, to enable them carry out an effective operations and maintenance, to forestall the persistent system failures that continue to undermine service delivery of power utilities.
Until the financial, technical, and commercial issues of the power companies are dealt with, the Ghanaian cannot be assured of consistent and reliable power supply, even though current plant available capacity exceeds current system peak demand.
Research Analyst, IES