Monday, 25 November 2019

GRIDCO worker’s emergency services withdrawal will affect economy – Energy economist

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Gideon Ofosu-Peasah, an energy economist is worried that should the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) workers withdraw its emergency services as it has threatened, the economy and individuals will be severely affected.

The expert explained that there is no major power supplier in the country apart from GRIDCo hence halting its power services to institutions such as the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), VALCO will cut power stability.

It is established that there is a direct relationship between energy and economic growth. In Ghana, the more consumption of power, the more the economy experiences positive growth as confirmed by experts.

“Once they withdraw emergency services, there will be regular power outages. When it happens like this, it will affect livelihood and businesses. For instance in hospitals where there is a surgery, and unfortunately, the medical facility experience unexpected power cuts, and the generators do not work, it means lives will be lost.” He noted.

On commerce, he said constant power outages will affect productivity since companies and businesses thrive on power. A negative effect, he said, will only hike inflation rate because of fueling a generator as an alternative for production.

His comments fall on the back of an impending strike by the staff of GRIDCo who have threatened to subsequently impress on the management of the power generator to cut power supply to customers who have huge sums of outstanding bills to settle.

The action according to the staff association is necessitated by the failure of the companies to fulfil their debt obligations which is crippling the activities of GRIDCo.

National Chairman of Staff Group of GRIDCo, Raphael Kornor, said the indebtedness was not only affecting energy generation but is having effect on the efforts of the company to continuously maintain its equipment.

He revealed that as of March 1, 2019, ECG's outstanding debt to GRIDCo stood at GH¢607 million and another GH¢94,204,903.17 while VALCO owed it GH¢32,567,974.05 and NEDCo's debt stood at GH¢177 million as at September 30, 2019.

The expert recommended that ECG will have to strengthen its revenue mobilization by indulging in an active follow up of unpaid arrears.

The Deputy Director of Africa Center For Energy And Environmental Sustainability (ACEES) reiterated an increase in monitoring will decrease power theft because people are “stealing” power and getting away with it.

“Some people are using power but they are not paying bills due to illegal connections. So they (ECG), have to look out for new estates especially where new houses are sprang as well as slums.”

Again, he suggested that due to bulk power, consumers such as VALCO, should rely on cheap power sources like hydro or natural gas or crude oil, which is relatively cheaper, to sustain the work VALCO does.

For him, this reduces the pressure on the supply of energy sources.

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