Ghana rations electricity ahead of World Cup debut

BY Diane Jeanty  June 16, 2014 at 4:09 PM EDT

Ghana has taken steps to reduce their power resources ahead of the nation’s World Cup debut in Monday’s match against the U.S.

The West African nation has been forced to ration its electricity throughout the month due to shortages in natural gas and lower than average water levels needed to power the Akosombo dam along the Volta River. Currently, the dam is operating with one turbine while two other turbines are shut down.

To ensure Ghanaian would be able to watch their Black Stars take on the U.S. with no interruptions, Ghana’s officials purchased 50 megawatts from neighboring nation, Cote d’Ivoire, and utility company Volta Aluminum Co. reduced their dam production in anticipation for the surge.

According to the World Bank, 72% of Ghana’s population has access to electricity. In contrast, its neighbors Togo and Burkina Faso have rounded rates of 26% and 13%, respectively.

In June 2013, the Obama administration proposed a project dubbed “Power Africa” that promised $7 billion dollars in financial support over the next five years to bring access to electricity to over 20 million households in 6 African nations, including Ghana.

The Ghana government has also invested in alternative energy sources such as solar and wind but none has yet to produce the amount of electricity needed to keep up with the country’s continuing growth.

Ghanaian officials expect full power generating capacity to resume in July, when water will have likely risen to its normal levels.