Non-Payment of Debts VRA Faces Collapse

VRA is on the brink of collapse if debts owed are not paid immediately.

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The Volta River Authority (VRA) is crumbling finan­cially because of non-payment for power supplied to some of its major customers, reports the Finder newspaper.

The result, according to the paper, is that VRA has to de­pend on a number of banks in the country to sustain its operations, pilling up debts for the Authority.

The indebtedness is primarily the result of the failure of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Independ­ent Power Producers (IPPs) and the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) to pay VRA for services rendered.

The newspaper reports in its January 10 publication it has information that even though ECG has signed a power purchase agreement with IPPs, it is re­luctant to do same with VRA.

"According to reliable sources, one of the reasons ECG has persistently failed to sign the power purchase agreement is a clause in the agreement which demands that ECG pays inter­est on outstanding debts", the Finder reports.

The sources explained that ECG ar­gues that consumers of electricity do not pay outstanding debts with inter­est and, therefore, it cannot do so to VRA.

The sources also told The Finder that ECG usually pays IPPs first be­fore considering paying VRA and Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo).

Information gathered indicates that consumers pay ECG in cedis but ECG has to pay IPPs the dollar equivalent of power purchased using prevailing exchange rate as stated in the power purchase agreement.

This takes a large chunk of ECG's money, for which reason ECG is un­able to settle its debt to VRA and GRIDCo, the sources said.

It is also known that an appreciable amount of power ECG purchases goes to government institutions, who do not pay bills.

Despite the huge indebtedness, VRA cannot cut supply to ECG be­cause of its strategic nature.

According to the sources, added to this problem is that fact that VRA sup­plies fuel to the IPPs in the country.

However, the sources said the IPPs have failed to fully pay for the fuel with the explanation that ECG has not paid them in full, and since ECG and VRA are state institutions, VRA should collect the fuel money from the money ECG owes them.

Despite this challenge, VRA con­tinues to supply the IPPs fuel because failure to do so would result in huge deficits in power supply.

The sources also told The Finder that another critical factor is indebtedness of VALCO. Power supplied to VALCO is partly subsidised by government.

However, the sources said VALCO has failed to pay huge amount VRA while government has paid the subsidy on the power s to VALCO.

The sources explained that following from all the above, VRA I rowed money from numerous just to keep generating power nation.

The sources stated that most banks are now reluctant to lend to VRA because of the huge indebtedness.

The government in 2013 settled rears in tariffs owed by the Mini Departments and Agencies (MD, ECG and instructed the MDAs t their own utility bills thereafter.

For this reason, it is increase difficult for VRA to get any final support from the Ministry of Fin and Economic Planning to pure crude oil for its operations.

The ministry expects MDAs to their electricity bills; therefore, E should be able to install prepaid meters and to collect their money and pay VRA.

Source: The Finder

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