Improved power supply not a nine days' wonder

BY: Arku Jasmine

For almost a year now Ghanaians have had to contend with a planned load-shedding exercise that has slowed down productive activities in all sectors. Even large-scale enterprises that have the capacity to acquire generating sets have had their operating cost rising through the roof, not to talk about the small and medium-scale businesses that cannot operate during the power outages.

In the advanced societies, research groups would have by now provided us with statistics on the losses occasioned by almost 12 months of load shedding.

The loss in man hours and subsequently from low productivity and low sales will affect the national purse and the development plans of the government.

During the period of power rationing, the utility companies — the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) and the Volta River Authority (VRA) — were the subject of regular public rebuke for their inability to provide power for domestic and industrial use.

Perhaps the utility companies did not do much, for the very obvious reason of low tariffs, although upward adjustments in tariffs in the past did not result in improved services.

When consumers listen to the utility companies make a case for an upward review in tariffs, they get the impression that their minds are being prepared for increases in tariffs.

The Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC) has never minced words in charging the utility companies to raise their efficiency levels, otherwise they should forget about any future adjustments.

But for how long can the PURC hold on to tariff adjustments when the utility companies are ‘crying’ for more money in order to deliver to the satisfaction of consumers?

It appears that the utility companies have their jobs cut out for them when the Number One citizen of the land has already made a case for the payment of higher tariffs.

President John Dramani Mahama, at Navrongo last week, urged Ghanaians to agree to pay realistic tariffs for electricity to guarantee reliable and stable supply of power.

The Daily Graphic has no doubt that consumers will be prepared to pay for efficient and reliable power and other utility services.

It is a fact that Ghanaians have issues with the services being provided by the utility companies which are always shouting at the top of their voices for more tariffs.

Besides the frequent disruptions in power supply, the companies are very slow to explain their technical challenges to consumers.

It has been long in coming, but at long last the good news is here following the significant improvement in the power situation in the country.

The load-shedding exercise, otherwise known as ‘dumso dumso’, has abated, with many suburbs in Accra and other communities in the country enjoying uninterrupted power for the past one week or so.

The Public Relations Officer of the ECG, Mr William Boateng, has explained that the coming on stream of the T3 Thermal Plant and the Bui Power Project has brought on board about 200 megawatts, considerably reducing the load-shedding exercise.

In the recent history of the country, consumers have experienced unproductive load-shedding exercises which virtually brought the country on its knees and it is the expectation of the Daily Graphic that never again shall we go through this experience.

The government has mentioned plans to generate enough power to improve on the country’s energy reserve to reduce intermittent power outages due to technical faults and routine maintenance.

The Daily Graphic urges the government to put in place strategic plans to fix, once and for all, the power needs of the country, as an adequate and efficient energy supply will be a key driver of the agenda to generate more wealth and jobs for the people.

We think going forward, we should also hold the officials in charge of power generation and distribution accountable to their mandate, with a strict charge that their jobs will be on the line the next time we go through the frequent shutdown of power.

But we hope the current stable power that the people are enjoying will not be a nine-day wonder.