Failure on the part of some electricity consumers to pay their bills in 2013 cost the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) about 12.40 per cent of its annual revenue.
Additionally, the company lost 10.97 per cent revenue as a result of frequent network breakdowns and associated power outages.
According to the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, the revenue losses had conspired to make the utilities unable to self-finance capital investment projects but rather rely on short-term high interest loans, as well as the countryâ€™s development partners.
Addressing the meet-the-press series in Accra Tuesday, Mr Buah outlined measures to overcome those challenges.
He said the ECG had established a distribution system loss reduction project at the Bortianor, Teshie and Roman Ridge electricity districts, adding that specialised ECG courts were to hear cases of energy theft and related offences.
Furthermore, he said, the prepayment metering system would be expanded to all district capitals in two years, while the company would also establish a well-structured debt management system that would ensure continued reduction in high debts owed by consumers.
World market prices
The predicament of the ECG, he said, was compounded by the increase in world market prices of distribution materials and a rise in generation cost as a result of the introduction of more thermal generation into the power mix.
Mr Buah said in line with the governmentâ€™s objective to achieve 5,000 megawatts Â generation capacity by 2016, a total of 534.5 megawatts new capacity was added to the national grid in 2013.
According to him, the target this year was to add 355 megawatts to the installed generation, saying that would come from the completion of expansion work on the TICO Plant that would add 110 megawatts, units 1 and 2 of the Kpone Thermal Power Plant that would add 220MW and 25 MW from Trojan power.
He said pursuant to the governmentâ€™s policy to create a non-congested transmission system, the Ghana Grid Company had commenced the substations reliability enhancement project (SREP) to enhance operational reliability, security and control, among other things.
That, according to the minister, would rid the national interconnected transmission system (NITS) of old and obsolete equipment, increase transformer capacity and upgrade substation configuration of various substations such as Achimota, Winneba, Cape Coast and Takoradi.
Mr Buah indicated that as part of the governmentâ€™s efforts to position Ghana as a net exporter of electricity in the sub-region, the 330 kV Volta substation had been expanded to include a 330kV transmission line to serve as an alternative interconnection with Togo-Benin.
He said the ministry, with its stakeholders, had begun a major street lighting project across the country, while over 35,000 solar street lights had been installed in various parts of the country.
He said the ministry was also rehabilitating existing street lights in the regional capitals to enhance security and safety on the streets.
The minister indicated that over the last three years, oil production in the Jubilee Field had averaged about 100,000 barrels per day, even in the face of challenges such as well repair in the early days and recently gas handling.
Gas master plan
Mr Buah said following the approval of the natural gas pricing policy by the Cabinet, a draft gas master plan had been developed to provide a framework for gas commercialisation in the country.
Source: Graphic OnlineÂ