Water shortages in the river Volta have cut hydro generation at the 912MW Akosombo and Kapong stations to less than half their capacity: the result has been power cuts, load shedding, and an increased tariff.

The water shortfall — which has reduced hydro generation to 3800GWh from an average of 8000GWh — has been blamed on the El Nino weather pattern.

Since the last El Nino, the state-owned Volta River Authority has brought a 300MW thermal plant on line at Takordi; nevertheless, households currently receive electricity for only one day out of two, and Ghana’s Public Utilities Commission has raised electricity tariffs by 46%.

The energy crisis has prompted demands to privatise Ghana’s utilities. In response the Ghanian government has announced in its budget plans to restructure and liberalise the power sector in 1998, introducing private capital and management.