Ghana’s Sunon Asogli delays power plant shutdown after interim debt deal

By Maxwell Akalaare Adombila

ACCRA (Reuters) – Ghanaian independent power producer Sunon Asogli said it has delayed for a week a threatened shutdown at its 560 MW gas-fired power plant after reaching an interim payment agreement for $60 million of its debt with the government.

The company, which owns around 10% of the West African nation’s installed generating capacity, said on Monday it had suspended operations indefinitely, citing unpaid government debt and what it called unproductive engagements to find a solution.

In a letter dated Dec 4, Sunon Asogli’s chairman Qun Yang said the shutdown would be delayed for a week following assurances from Ghana’s ministers of finance and state that overdue invoices would be paid.

In the letter, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, Yang asked the national electricity supplier to confirm it would be paid in two $30 million tranches, one this week and the second next week.

The state-run Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The government has been seeking a debt deal with independent power producers (IPP) as it grapples with its worst economic crisis in a generation, characterised by double-digit inflation and ballooning public debt.

In July, the IPPs reached an interim deal with the ECG over arrears owed to them. However, they warned that if the debt issue remained unresolved they would shut down without any further notice.

Ghana has 5,454 MW of installed capacity, of which 4,483MW is available, its energy regulator said in April.

(Reporting by Maxwell Akalaare Adombila; Editing by Hereward Holland, Kirsten Donovan)