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Last updateVen, 30 Jan 2015 1pm

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Unreliable Nigeria gas supply, repair of generating plants cause another power crisis

Energy - Unreliable gas supply from the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) in Nigeria and repair and maintenance of power plants in western Ghana have drastically reduced power generation and once again forced a load shedding programme.

The WAGP, which supplies gas to a privately-owned power plant, Sunon Asogli, that generates about 220 megawatts of power, has virtually dried up, forcing the company to stop production once again because of extremely low and erratic supplies.

Three units of the Aboadze power plant in the Western region, which together supply some 330 megawatts, are not working.

The state-owned power producer, Volta River Authority (VRA), shut down one unit of its generator at Aboadze on 15 February for repairs with the loss of 110 megawatts after a major fault on it just as it was being returned into service.

The fault occurred while there were expansion and maintenance works going on at two other generators due to be completed by the end of the second quarter.

While demand is about 2,200 megawatts a day with reserve of 220 megawatts production is less 1,800 megawatts, VRA officials say.

They add that demand shoots up during peak periods from 1800-2200 hours and the state-owned Electricity Company of Ghana has said consumers may lose 12 hours of supply every other day, causing great discomfort to industries and domestic consumers.

President John Dramani Mahama has bemoaned the situation and announced that he has sent his Energy Minister, Emmanuel Kofi Buah, to Nigeria on Monday to discuss the situation with the Nigerian authorities and seek definite word from the company.

The WAGP shut down for many months in the recent past following a damage to the undersea pipeline in Togo, but even after it was repaired, the supply from Nigeria has been very poor as the company has persistently failed to supply the agreed volume of gas to Ghana.

Ghana's energy production is a mix of hydro, gas, thermal and a small amount of solar. Total installed capacity is about 2,270 megawatts with more projects in the pipeline, especially to use gas that Ghana hopes to produce from its oilfields offshore in the west of the country. 

Hydro has the biggest component in production from three dams - Akosombo (1,020MW), Kpong (160MW) and Bui (400MW).

With the unreliable supply of gas from Nigeria, Ghana is using a Chinese loan to install its own equipment to produce gas for its plants.

Pana 18/03/2014