Ghana's power firm disconnects parliament over debt

Ghana’s power firm disconnects parliament over debt

/ 05:26 AM March 02, 2024

ACCRA — Ghana’s state-run electricity supplier, ECG, briefly cut off power supplies to the parliament building on Thursday in an effort to push the legislature to honor its 23 million Ghanaian cedi ($1.8 million) debt, an ECG spokesperson said.

A video shared by local media showed lawmakers exclaiming in the dark parliamentary chamber after the power was shut off, eventually joining together in a chant of “dumsor, dumsor”—blackout in the local Twi language.

ECG has decided to cut power after the legislature failed to “honor demand notices to pay up,” ECG’s communications director William Boateng told Reuters.


Soon after, “they paid 13 million cedi ($1 million) and promised to pay the rest in a week, so our guys reconnected them.”


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A parliament spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

The strong-arm tactics come as the West African country’s power sector grapples with widespread unpaid debts that have led to a sharp increase in outages amid a standoff between power producers and the government.

Stuck in elevators

Boateng said cutting the parliament’s electricity was part of ECG’s usual strategy to encourage indebted customers to pay up.

“Disconnections are for everybody; anyone who doesn’t pay and fails to make arrangements, the team will disconnect,” he said.

Lawmaker Edward Bawa said a fellow member of parliament and parliamentary staff got stuck in elevators when the power went down.


“The whole sector is suffering under debt and these are some of the consequences,” Bawa told Reuters.

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The government has been seeking to restructure the power sector and seal a debt deal with independent power producers (IPPs) as it grapples with its worst economic crisis in a generation, characterized by double-digit inflation and ballooning public debt.

In July last year, IPPs reached an interim deal with the ECG over arrears owed to them but promised to shut down their plants if the issue remained unsolved.

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Ghana has 5,454 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, of which 4,483 MW are available, its energy regulator said in April 2023. —Reuters

TAGS: Electricity, Ghana

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