There is growing anger between the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) over the former’s decision to invade ECG’s territory and sell power for industrial use.
JoyNews is learning that development affects cooperation among the utility producers with dire consequences if not immediately addressed.
As JoyNews understands, the two entities have complained to the Energy Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, demanding a resolution.
At the heart of the simmering discontent is the unpaid ¢1 billion ECG owes Gridco.
The company, which is currently replacing obsolete transmission lines on major lines in the country for reliable and sustainable power supply, requires an additional $350 million to complete the projects.
Unhappy with the lack of progress in paying the debt, JoyNews is learning Gridco decided to sell power to industries at a cheaper tariff than what ECG offers.
They claim the law establishing the Grid Company grants it such right, but ECG sees it as an invasion and are unwilling to tolerate it any further.
The Minister tells JoyNews the matter is being handled, stressing he has charged the new governing board of Gridco to resolve the impasse.
“You have to examine the national transmission utility license granted GRIDCo and establish whether that license allows GRIDCo to sell to retailers.
“It is crucial because increasingly ECG is agitated that GRIDCo is stealing ECG customers and that partly is because of our tariff system which allows for industrial tariff and others which allows customers to run to GRIDCo for a cheaper rate and especially if you are an industrialist you want to get cheaper tariff so that must be looked at,” he assured.
But as the boardroom wrangling continues, the energy minister is unhappy several months after parliament approved the Gridco Siemens 250 million euros deal to improve power transmitting lines in the middle belt; contractual disagreement has stalled the project.
The deal part of the 1 billion euros Germany Africa Compact is expected to cover the system’s expansion to prepare it for possible power evacuation to neighbouring countries.
President Akufo Addo, who supervised the signing agreement in January 2020, said the project was a significant development in the country’s energy sector because retooling and refitting the transmission and the grid systems across the country were crucial.
He said given Ghana’s quest for a rapidly industrialising economy through bauxite, manganese and iron ore industries, among others, it would require reliable access to power.
Under pressure from the German government, the energy minister is warning government, may be forced to step in if Gridco fails to implement the content of the agreement immediately.
“I was in Germany on an invitation of the Germany Africa power summit, and Siemens came to me that what they agreed which was put in the budget, Gridco says they want that changed which has delayed the project all this while.
“You cannot label the project priority one and then sit down and wants to change things against what was agreed as headnote.
“We want that project whatever GRIDCo has to come on, and we will not tolerate that. However, this is what you do, and the politician comes into your daily activities if you do not take decisions,” he charged.