President John Dramani Mahama has asked Ghanaians to be prepared to pay a little more for electricity if they want reliable power supply.
He said once Ghana was going to rely more on thermal for power generation, which is more expensive compared to hydro, the cost of electricity would naturally go up.
Speaking on Garden City Radio in Kumasi Monday, he said it was important that the reality was told about the power situation.
“If we do not want dumsor and we genuinely want reliable and sustainable power, then we should be ready to pay more and that is the reality," he explained.
President Mahama, who was in the Ashanti Region on a working visit, had, at various fora, hammered home the fact that the government was working hard to address the power crisis.
The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) is currently on a sensitisation mission in the regions to explain the need to increase electricity tariffs.
But the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and civil society organisations have kicked against any astronomical increase in tariffs, since, in its view, it will worsen the plight of the ordinary worker.
President Dramani said it was all clear that the country could no longer put all its hopes on hydro.
The evidence, he explained, could be seen in the falling water level of the Akosombo Dam.
He attributed the rather terrible development to climate change, which had become a major global issue, and sounded the warning that if the situation persisted, four units of the plant might be shut down.
“We may have to shut down four units and rely on only two because of the water level at Akosombo,” he said.
Currently, he said, the dam was just four feet above the minimum operating level, while 500MW of power was off.
That was in spite of the fact that at this time of the year, the water level must be between 155 and 160 feet, he added.
Ending power crisis
President Mahama re-emphasised his determination to fix the power crisis permanently.
He said to ensure that gas plants were constantly fed with gas, pipelines were being constructed from the Atuabo Gas Plant to the Tema enclave.
On the recent threat by the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAPCo) to cut gas supply to Ghana if it failed to honour its debt to the company, the President said the Volta
River Authority (VRA) had reached an agreement with Nigeria for the pre-financing of gas while payment arrangements were made.
He explained that the debt came about as a result of the gas pipeline that burst in 2012.
The pipeline transports gas from Nigeria to Ghana. That development, he said, negatively affected the finances of the VRA, which trickled down to its inability to meet payment schedules to Nigeria. He, nonetheless, said efforts were being made to pay up
Asked about the agitation by the Let My Vote Count Alliance and the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for a new voters register for the 2016 elections, President Mahama re-emphasised the need to allow the Electoral Commission (EC) to decide on it. He said the EC was the only body clothed with the law to decide on the issue.
The President touched on the numerous development projects being undertaken in the Ashanti Region and said it demonstrated the government's commitment to improve the living conditions of the people.