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Lessons for Nigeria as US charges Ghana to halt $8m weekly power losses

Recently, the United States Government charged managers of Ghana’s power sector to tap into private know-how and investment to minimise the current estimated $8 million distribution losses of power a week.
The US also urged the managers to ensure reliable and efficient supply of electricity to consumers and digital metering for accurate tariff payment by Ghanaians.
Chargé d’ Affaires and Acting US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Christopher Lamora who spoke at the commemoration of the second anniversary of the Ghana Power Compact II Entry-Into-Force and launch of Compact II Documentary in Accra, tasked the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) and the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) as well as other key agencies to continue collaboration in order to meet the objectives of the Ghana Power Compact II.
He noted that for the future of Ghana and Africa to be guaranteed, it depended largely on reliable energy and, thus, assured of the US Government’s commitment to be a reliable partner for the power sector development.
Analysts say looking at the charges and technical advice given to Ghana, they are all germane for the Nigerian power sector based on reports of Discos on cases of vandalism, power theft and high debt profiles of consumers.
The nation’s power grid has suffered its ninth total system collapse this year amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.
Weekend, our correspondent gathered that this year, the Nigerian national grid has so far recorded 10 collapses – nine total, while one was partial, the latest data obtained by our correspondent from the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on Friday showed.
According to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), a total system collapse means total blackout nationwide, while partial system collapse is a failure of a section of the grid.
The latest total collapse occurred on Tuesday, September 4, 2018, while total electricity generation stood at 2,982.60 megawatts as of 6am on that day, down from 3,276MW on September 1.The US envoy averred that “As we implement the largest US government transaction under Power Africa, our focus is no longer on power generation, but rather on reliability, access and affordability-pillars of investment and economic growth”.
Business Hilights Ghana Bureau chief report that the US Government has signed two power compacts with Ghana with a combined value of over one billion dollars over the past decade.
The first compact was worth $547 million administered from 2007 to 2012, which focused on agricultural transformation (agribusiness), while the second Power Compact totalled $498.2 million, aimed at improving infrastructure in the power sector in Ghana running from 2016 to 2021.
The Compact II was signed in August 5, 2014, between the Ghana Government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the United States. It became operational on September 6, 2016, after Ghana had met all the requisite conditions prior to accessing the first tranche of funds under the $498.2 million grant agreement.
The Compact sought to increase private sector investment and productivity, profitability of micro, small, medium and large scale businesses and improve power reliability and availability, as well as increase employment opportunities for Ghanaians and raise earning potential from self-employment and improved social outcomes.
Professor Naa Ntiamoa-Baidu, the Chairperson of MiDA said over the past two years, the Authority and other implementing entities had carried out various activities to meet condition precedent of the power compact and to improve the reliability and availability of electricity to power consumers.
According to her, the contribution of some key stakeholders that helped the nation to meet critical conditions outlined in the compact, including the Electricity Company of Ghana, Northern Electricity Distribution Company, Public Utility Regulatory Commission, Energy Commission, Ghana Standard Authority, Ministry of Energy, Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General.