Business News of 2014-05-28

Comment: ‘Dumsor, Dumsor’ now unbearable

The power crisis is far from over.
Throughout the day, sections of towns, suburbs and villages go without power, disrupting business and domestic activities.
The situation appears hopeless now in view of the fact that the load-shedding exercise has been going on for the past three years or so.
All this while, the power producers — the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) — have never fulfilled their side of the bargain.
Anytime they are able to meet their own timelines, they have lasted for only a few days and consumers are brought back to Batan!
For some time now the power companies have taken their customers for granted and do not tell consumers when to expect power and when to sleep in darkness.
We recall a recent government directive to the ECG to publish in the dailies guidelines for the planned load-shedding exercise. It was done for a few days and presently majority of consumers have become indifferent to the erratic power supply situation.
For such consumers, when power is available, so be it.
Furthermore, many consumers have assumed that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has no power to compel the utility companies to live up to expectation.
Is the PURC a toothless bulldog, since these companies have flouted the directives of the commission to improve their service delivery to the people?
The PURC has again directed the ECG, the VRA and GRIDCo to explain the cause of the current power supply challenges across the country.
This follows the erratic supply of electricity over the last few weeks. In spite of PURC’s directives to the power producers to give information to the public on supply challenges, the companies have failed to do so.
Officials of the VRA have not lost the opportunity to drum home the necessity for the government to increase its investment in power generation because the present level of generation is inadequate to power the country’s productive activities.
They have appealed to the government to pump more money into the generation of electricity to meet the demand for power in the country. A growing population, taste and demands of industry for power have outstripped the supply situation, resulting in the shortfall of power at any given time, especially during the peak periods.
The challenges in the power sector are real and they need urgent action to fix them, otherwise productive activities will continue to suffer or even grind to a halt.
Besides productive activities, there is also the recreational side of human endeavour that the availability of power helps provide at all times because, as is said: “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.”
In about two weeks, the biggest global soccer fiesta will kick off in Brazil and Ghana is a big stakeholder in the 2014 Mundial.
Ghanaians will need power to be part of this historic event for, afterall, sports, especially competitive soccer, is the unifier of the political divide.
The Daily Graphic appeals to the utility providers to explain the challenges to their customers on a regular basis in order to get their understanding of the issues.
In the long run, however, the utility companies must seek permanent solutions to the very unproductive ‘dumsor, dumsor’ phenomenon.
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