The seeming stability in the current power generation in Ghana comes as a sort of relief for many Ghanaians especially business operators and domestic users alike, but despite marginal improvement in generation and supply, people are not over jubilant as they are of the political opinion that the over seven day stable power supply is nothing but a political game being used by the ruling NDC to get maximum votes come the 2016 general elections.

Ghana energy supply
Ghana energy supply

The Power Ministry on Wednesday December 30th 2015 released a statement to all media houses announcing the end of the load shedding exercise that has gained the country international recognition and a Wikipedia accepted word ‘Dumsor’.

The statement signed by the head of public affairs for the power minister Kweku Sesah Johnson said;

“The Ministry of Power wishes to inform the public that its load-shedding programme, in respect of electricity supply, has been brought to an end.”

“The Ministry takes this opportunity to express its profound gratitude and appreciation to the entire citizenry and residents of Ghana for their forbearance and understanding during those difficult times. The Ministry and its agencies wish to assure the public that they shall continue to pursue policies and programmes to consolidate the gains so far made in generation and transmission of electricity for the country.”

Dumsor in retrospect

Ghana’s power supply became erratic in the early 2008, due to reduced power generation capacity mostly as a result of a significant drop in water levels at the Akosombo Dam, (the country’s main hydro-electric dam) but was temporarily resolved in late 2008.

Ghana made its way into Wikipedia with the term “Dumsor” a term derived from two separate words from the Asante Twi, the Akuapem Twi or Fante dialects of the Akan language, dum (to turn off or quench) and sɔ (to turn on or to make light).

Dumsor gained prominence in August 2012, when the Mahama led government told Ghanaians that a ship’s anchor had cut the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), forcing gas turbines to shut down for lack of fuel.

Since then, the load shedding became a regular experience, almost becoming a part of the way of live of Ghanaians.

At the beginning of 2015, the Load shedding “dumsor” schedule went from 24 hours with light and 12 without to 12 hours with light and 24 without. As per international standards and practices, the long blackouts in Ghana contrast with the practice in other countries, where blackouts roll rapidly so that no residential area is without power for more than one hour at a time.

Socio-Econmic Effect

For the past three and half years, many companies, both big and small were the ones that felt the hard pinch of the load shedding exercise alias dumsor. The intensified irregularity in the supply of power supply to both homes and business led to thousands of job cuts which was mainly due to companies folding up or downsizing of workforce just to remain in active business.

Dumsor
Dumsor

According to a report by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), the country lost about 1 million dollars in 2014 alone because of dumsor. In effect, companies that relied on electricity to manufacture goods and services for either exports or domestic use could not produce thereby affecting their contribution to the over all national economic growth.

Small scaled businesses like Cold store operators, barbering Salons, Hair Dressers, mechanics, Tailors/Seamstresses, just to name a few were almost thrown out of business due to energy crisis, thus forcing many people who used to be bread winners of their families to be jobless, a situation that has somewhat contributed to the increased social vices and streetism.

Large Scaled Businesses like Mining firms, Industrial firms like Coca Cola Bottling Company, laid off several workers, while mining firms were forced to cut down on their energy consumption.

The Pressure to resolve the energy crisis or resign

The announcement of the end of the load shedding comes at a time when many people, pressure groups, political parties among others have heaped tons of pressure on the Mahama led government to end the energy crisis by all means.

such of these institutions is Energy think tank African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) which recently said Dr Kwabena Donkor must live by his own promise to resign by Thursday December 31, 2015 if he failed to solve Ghana’s over three year power crisis, which he promised to solve after taking office early this year.

In the group’s estimation, the Pru East MP has failed to solve the crisis and must go.

but in the twist of events and as some would say by dint of lack, a day before the deadline for Dr. Kwabena Donkor to resign should the load shedding continue, his ministry has fulfilled its promise with an announcement to the end of Load Shedding, Yippee!!!!!

How

Government of Ghana earlier this year promised to sail into the county two power barges that will add additional combined 450 megawatts of to the national grid. Though the barges delayed in their arrival on the shores of the country, one with an installed capacity of 225 megawatts finally arrived in Ghana in November 2015.

Since the arrival of the power barge from Tukey, the country has experienced seeming stability in the production of power hence stabilizing the distribution to companies and homes.

Power Barge
Power Barge

The Chief Executive Officer of GRIDCO William Amuna interview with Multi TV’s The Pulse, said power generation in the country is matching demand but could not confirm enough whether the load shedding is over.

“We have not been shedding load at all throughout the country. Virtually all the generation plants are operational. We even have one unit which we are not running now in Tema but we still have adequate supply,” he said.

According to him, the country has enough light crude and gas to power the plants till March 2016, and added that enough provision has been made to meet the growing power demand.

Observation

For those optimist, the hope that the intended end to the load shedding is a significant move in the direction to bringing some relief to businesses and domestic users, a relief that will translate into economic growth.

Pessimists alike are however observing with keen interest the life span of the announce end to the load shedding which was contained in a press release by the power ministry Wednesday 30th December 2015.

Source- Charity Emehill Bartels/NewsGhana.com.gh

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