I have refrained from writing about the electricity situation in Ghana, with the hope that this piece would bring some good News. Folks, we have a SNAFU!!.The rotating blackout or load-shedding (dumsor in the local lingo) is on with a full force or vengeance.
First the powers that are, said it is the water level at the hydro dams, namely Akosombo, Kpong, and now the new two-year old facility at Bui.
There are three main things that make up a generator; the steel lamination, the magnet wire (copper or aluminum), and the insulation system. All three are vital, however the first two do not like each other and do NOT want to touch under any condition otherwise there would be fire (I guarantee this). So, to keep them apart, the third one (insulation) is inserted between them.
I will dwell on the insulation because it is like the referee in any team sport. If there is no referee, the game becomes unruly and there is chaos (which in the case of electrical equipment is fire). The insulation system (referee) is mostly made up of organic material, and all organic materials have a life expectancy. Once the weakest member of the insulation system reaches its maximum useful life, the whole generator has to be taken out of service and rebuild or refurbished. If this is NOT done, steel and magnet wire come into contact, with the end result being fire.
The insulation system as I said has a life expectancy, so forget about the thought of making it live forever, nobody can. Now that we have this straight, the question is how do you get longer life out of the insulation? First and foremost, keep it dry; and secondly keep it cool. These two are the life lines of all electrical insulation. The average life of hydro generators is 20 to 30 years.
FACT, this blogger use to work for General Electric (GE) in the USA. FACT, this blogger was at the GE plant in Peterborough Ontario, Canada in 1994/1995 when one of the generators from Akosombo was brought in for refurbishing. That is about 30 to 32 years after the initial inauguration of the hydro station in the 1960’s. Remember I said one of the units and there are six. The question is, were the other five refurbished before I got there or after I left. If any of the six units have not been refurbished since installation, the insulation system may be useless now.
Now let us go back to the crust of the present situation. I am NOT buying what is being dished out that the low water level is the cause of power generating capability. If any of the units have NOT been refurbished, that or those units are not good.
This is where I go out on the limb. Money that should have been used to refurbish all six units, have been diverted. Equipment is probably fire damaged.
Folks, the hippos are running wild.!!!