IPG pushes for independent monitoring of hydro power


…VRA reiterates commitment to domestic consumers

By Kizito CUDJOE

The Independent Power Generators (IPG), representing independent power producers (IPPs), is advocating thorough monitoring of electricity production from aging hydro dams in light of the current nationwide power supply challenges.

IPG’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Elikplim Kwabla Apetorgbor, said such a move is necessary because the Electricity Market Oversight Panel (EMOP) is unable to independently monitor the actual sharing of electricity produced by the two legacy hydro dams – Akosombo and Kpong.

The EMOP is tasked with responsibility of sharing of the legacy hydro.

Dr. Apetorgbor lamented that the current monitoring efforts have proven ineffective in overseeing hydro dams, underscoring the necessity for the government to prioritise providing adequate support to the Energy Commission and the EMOP to effectively carry out this crucial oversight responsibility.

The Akosombo and Kpong hydro dams play pivotal roles in the country’s energy infrastructure, utilising water to produce electricity. However, their capacity to enhance the economy and enhance livelihoods can only be fully realised through effective management and equitable distribution of their output.

The Energy Commission and EMOP act as watchdogs of the country’s energy interests. They ensure that the electricity produced by these dams is shared out fairly and openly.

It is in line with this that Dr. Apetorgbor has asserted that independent monitoring remains crucial to confirm that the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and local markets get their fair share of this valuable resource.

In a statement released by IPG, Dr. Apetorgbor acknowledged the traditional role of the Volta River Authority (VRA) in exporting surplus power.

He, however, noted that: “In recent times where the market is unbundled with the various forms of reforms and regulations, it expected that one’s allegiance will first be with his home country. Why do we see the contrary, especially in this challenging times?”

He added that these reforms have introduced a more structured regulatory framework with the establishment of the Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) as technical and economic regulators.

“This evolution underscores the adherence to a regulatory paradigm that mandates specific licensing and permits for operational activities within the electricity sector, as delineated in the Energy Commission’s License and Permit Application Manual for Service Providers in the Electricity Sector of Ghana, particularly in section 4.33e on page 15 and best industry practice in the national grid management to ensure about 18 percent reserve margin,” he stated.

He recalled a situation where the Energy Commission halted an electricity export deal by an Independent Power Producer to ensure domestic demand was met and to maintain a reserve margin for the sector. This, he said, demonstrates the regulatory body’s authority in enforcing sector rules.

“We are currently in crisis, Ghanaians are sleeping in darkness, companies cannot operate with a guaranteed power supply – there is a shortage in supply. Making the available cheap hydro generation to the Ghanaian taxpayer is supreme and must be of prime consideration, irrespective of your survival concerns,” he stated.

Dr. Apetorgbor reckoned that citizens are paying very high tariffs, averaging 14 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) particularly at peak time, while neighbouring countries enjoy about half of the tariff.

“This is not fair to the Ghanaian. The Energy Commission will be seen as biased to other participants in the sector, if this export is not stopped immediately for the benefit of the Ghanaian taxpayer,” he stated.

He added that “we are aware of situations in the recent past where load shedding is high and at the same time over 200MW of generation capacity is being exported”.

Dr. Apetorgbor highlighted the VRA’s repeated concerns regarding ECG’s prioritisation of payments to independent power producers, indicating a nuanced relationship between financial commitments and sectoral priorities.

VRA says otherwise

In a related update, the VRA has rebutted allegations implying that it is neglecting its power supply obligations to the Ghanaian market because of extensive exports to neighboring countries.

According to a statement issued by the VRA, these assertions, attributed to IPG, are not only inaccurate but also misleading.

The VRA underscored its long-standing tradition of supplying power to neighbouring nations since 1972, while consistently fulfilling its duty to deliver reliable and affordable electricity to Ghana.

additionally, it clarified that the allocation of power generated from the Akosombo and Kpong hydropower stations is overseen by EMOP, not directly by the VRA itself. It emphasized that under this framework, priority is consistently accorded to the Ghanaian market in alignment with government policies, ensuring the optimal utilization of the nation’s hydro resources over the longt-term

The VRA statement reassured the public of its steadfast commitment to prioritise electricity supply to the Ghanaian market in accordance with its mandate, government directives, and regulatory responsibilities.

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