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Ghana plunged into darkness amid country’s economic woes

By Nimi Princewill, CNN

(CNN) — Large swaths of Ghana are facing power blackouts due to gas shortages at a major power facility, the nation’s power operator said, compounding the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

“Limited gas supply” at a power installation in Tema, located east of the Ghanian capital, Accra, has led to “a supply gap of 550MW at peak time,” the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) said of the power outages in a statement Thursday evening.

Ghana partly relies on natural gas for power generation. The West African nation has battled power outages, known locally as “dumsor” for many years.

“Dumsor is fully back, no announced timetables, no communication, nothing, just frequent random power outages,” one Ghanian said of the latest power cut on X, formerly known as Twitter.

GRIDCo did not say in its statement when electricity would be restored to affected areas. CNN has reached out to the agency for further comment.

Recent studies expect the country’s energy crisis to worsen over the coming years, starting from this year.

“Ghana’s energy supply requires urgent, purposeful and significant investment to undo the current precarious situation the country finds itself,” said research and policy think tank, Centre for Socioeconomic Studies (CSS).

A CSS study released in June said, “available data shows the country’s current energy provision is critically unhealthy and tottering towards a power crisis” and also “faces a dire energy situation from 2023 going into the near future.”

Residents have been burdened with hikes in energy tariffs despite the country’s power shortfalls. In May, electricity tariff soared by over 18%, following a nearly 30% increase earlier in the year.

Last month, energy bills went up again by over 4% amid a biting cost-of-living crisis.

This year, Ghana has grappled with economic shocks ranging from high inflation, a plummeting local currency, mounting debts, and a federal budget “weakened by high energy sector costs” amid “low public revenues,” according to the World Bank.

The high cost of living has triggered a series of anti-government protests and fueled public calls for the removal of the country’s central bank chair over alleged economic mismanagement.

The central bank said in July, it recorded a loss of 60.8 billion cedi (over $5 billion) last year, its biggest annual loss.

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