Power is back on at Volta Aluminum Company Limited’s (VALCo) plant in Ghana today after provider Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) cut the supply on Monday over VALCo’s outstanding unpaid debt to the firm.
The Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Ghana’s Energy Ministry Nana Oppong Damoah confirmed the new state of affairs to domestic media on Tuesday, noting that the ministry is actively working toward finding a mutually agreeable solution to the debt problem.
GRIDCo restored power to VALCo’s plant a few hours after terminating the supply, he said. The two parties are continuing talks to come to an agreement regarding VALCo’s US$30 million in debt to the power provider.
“The Ministry is mediating to ensure that we come to a common ground point. Power has been restored to VALCO as we speak. We will continue to ensure that whilst the needs of VALCo are being catered for, GRIDCo is not left in the dark. We are already making quite a lot of headway and GRIDCo also felt that,they need to send the right signal, which they did, and so we will continue to ensure that this impasse is resolved in the shortest possible time.”
GRIDCo’s move to cut power to VALCo is part of a broader initiative by the firm to call in debts owed by bulk customers. The power provider hopes that payment on accounts in arrears will help infuse the company with more revenue and enhance operations.
At present, bulk power buyers owe an estimated GH¢1.2 billion (US$211 million) to GRIDCo, which the firm says significantly hampers its operations.
VALCo is a state-owned aluminium firm based in Tema, Ghana. Founded in 1948 as a joint venture between Alcoa and Kaiser Aluminum, the firm operates an aluminium smelter in Tema boasting a nameplate capacity of 200 thousand metric tons per annum of aluminium ingot.