ECG replies GRIDCo as dumsor blame game continues

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The Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG, has responded to a letter by the Ghana Grid Company, GRIDCo, accusing the former of non-compliance with load-shedding instructions. GRIDCo reported ECG to the Energy Minister to compel the power generation company to comply with instructions sent by the National System Control Centre (NSCC).

“We note with grave concern the repeated instances where Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) Operations personnel fail to follow load management instructions issued by the SCC. This non-compliance poses a significant threat to the stability of the power grid, potentially leading to  Avoidable power outages for customers and system collapse,” GRIDCo’s letter read in part.

The letter added that “The SCC routinely communicates load management directives to ECG Operations. However, these instructions are often either not effected or inadequately implemented. This results in a decline in system frequency, triggering:

• The operation of the Automatic Frequency Load Shedding (AFLS) relays,

• SCC having to disconnect feeders serving bulk customers to correct the decaying frequency.”

“When these emergency disconnections occur, ECG publishes customer notices attributing the loss of power supply to GRIDCo, which is not an accurate description of the current situation. Furthermore, ECG’s disregard for load management instructions is a clear violation of the regulations.”

However, ECG said the letter from GRIDCo suggests the two entities do not collaborate well in handling the country’s power situation, something ECG does not think is right. It said GRIDCo is a partner and their collaboration has been cohesive so the circulation of the letter is surprising. ECG’s response was contained in a letter signed by its managing director Samuel Dubik Mahama.

“The letter which was received on 3rd April 2024 portrays that there is no cohesion and cooperation in operational matters between ECG and GRIDCo in maintaining national power system integrity. ECG wants to reiterate that GRIDCo is our partner in the electricity value chain and that we work closely together. This makes the presence and circulation of this letter confounding to ECG.”

While admitting that ECG receives instructions from GRIDCo to drop load, ECG said the time GRIDCo sends in the request and the time it should be effected is always inadequate, thus preventing them from being able to take action and maintain the “integrity of the power system”.

“It is a fact that GRIDCO routinely directs ECG’s System Operators to drop load at some of our Bulk Supply Points (BSPs), but the issue has been the inadequacy between the time these requests are received and the time these requests must be effected to sustain the integrity of the power system and also for ECG to inform its customers.

Again, ECG revealed that between January and March 2024, it received 64 requests from GRIDCo for load management. It said 40 were within peak periods while 24 were off-peak hours.

“It worthy to note that, between January and March 2024, sixty-four (64No.) requests were received from GRIDCo for load management. Out of this, forty (40No.) were for peak periods (18:00 – 24:00 hrs) and twenty-four (24No.) for off-peak (06:00 – 18:00 hrs) load management.

“Out of the forty (40no.) peak load requests, thirty-five (35No.) (88%) of them were received within an hour to the peak period. There were only five (5No) (12%) instances where ECG received the request within 2-3 hours of the peak period.

“Out of the Twenty-Four (24No.) off-peak load requests, three (3No) (13%) of them were received within 30 minutes to the off-peak period while the remaining Twenty-One (21 No.) (87%) instances were received far into the off-peak period.”

ECG added that GRIDCo does not make load management requests for emergency sake but makes them a routine practice, an act that makes it a nuisance to consumers..It, however, reiterated its commitment to compliance cooperation with all stakeholders, GRIDCo inclusive to manage the sector.

“It is noted that requests from GRIDCo for load management are no longer for emergency operations, but are made on a routine day-to-day basis, becoming an irritation and disturbance to customers.

“ECG wishes to state that we will always cooperate with all relevant stakeholders including GRIDCo in order not to jeopardize the stability of the Transmission system. We however wish to reiterate our request that the Notice to our System Operators for load management should be received before 3:00 pm for peak load and 4 am for off-peak load management or to be received 24 hours ahead in each case, as what is happening now is no longer an emergency operation but seemingly a routine daily activity,”

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