Dumsor situation keeps worsening by the day
The recent power outages, popularly known as ‘Dumsor’,
appear to be worsening despite several assurances from
the Government and managers of the power sector.
Since the beginning of 2021, many parts of the country have
consistently been plunged into a state of darkness often without
prior notice to consumers, unfortunately, the situation keeps worsening
by the day. While most Ghanaians have been witnessing intermittent
power outages, others have been experiencing low currents and
occasional high voltage leading to damage of their electrical gadgets
and assets in some cases.
It should be noted that since the beginning of the year, GRIDCo
alone has given six different reasons for the major national outages
aside the intermittent localised blackouts.
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What is even more disturbing is despite confirmation from GRIDCo that the
country will continue to experience these power outages into the foreseeable
future for which reason they promised to publish a load management schedule,
the schedule has been put on hold due to political pressure from the executive.
It is a well-known fact especially amongst energy sector players that the current
outages in the country are due to financial challenges and not because of
technical challenges as being claimed by GRIDCo and Government officials.
This is because the transmission lines and transformers are congested due to
underinvestment and lack of regular maintenance resulting from the poor
financial health of the energy sector SOEs.
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Indeed, it will be recalled that in March 2018, the current CEO of GRIDCo
cautioned that the Country was likely to experience major power supply
challenges. This was after President Akufo-Addo took a populist decision
to usurp the authority of the PURC by slashing the revenue flows of GRIDCo
and other utility agencies. Unfortunately, this caution fell on deaf ears.
It is, therefore, not surprising that electricity consumers (Ghanaians) find
themselves in this difficult but avoidable situation.
Most of the Energy sector SOEs have continued to witness worsening
financial positions since the assumption of office by President Akufo-Addo
despite his administration receiving over 12 billion cedis in ESLA revenues
and almost 20 billion in petroleum revenues over the past four years.
The ECG, which recorded a profit of over 500 million cedis under
President Mahama in 2016, has posted cumulative losses of over 4 billion
cedis since the 2017 financial year.
The GRIDCo, which also posted profits in 2016, has equally taken a turn
for the worst with total comprehensive loss of over 600 million cedis
as captured in their 2018 financial Statement. Due to the worsening
financial position of GRIDCo, Agence Française de Développement
has had to withhold funding for a major upgrade of the National
transmission line culminating in congestion of the GRID.
As if that is not enough, the Energy Commission which is the
technical regulator of the sector has seen its budget slashed by more
than half on account of the Capping and Realignment Act rendering
the commission ineffective.
According to the 2019 PIAC report, of the US$334,636,806.22 of raw
Gas supplied by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to
Ghana Gas (GNGC), no payment was received, largely on account of
VRA’s inability to pay GNGC for the lean gas supplied bringing the
total indebtedness of GNGC to GNPC in respect of lean gas supplies
to US$668,118,346.04. From the foregoing, it is obvious the current
load shedding (Dumsor) being inflicted on Ghanaians is a result of
mismanagement and unnecessary political interference by the
Akufo-Addo Government in the management of the Energy sector.
It will be recalled that when the nation was faced with a similar challenge
under the NDC, the Mahama Government was candid with Ghanaians
and proceeded to implement pragmatic policies to comprehensively
address the challenge and subsequently handed over a resilient and
robust energy sector to President Akufo-Addo. Note that President
Mahama is on record to have also bequeathed over 230 million cedis in
the ESLA account to President Akufo- Addo in 2017.
Instead of conceding on their shortcomings and being honest with
Ghanaians, this Government has adopted political chicanery,
denial and misinformation as a cardinal tool whilst the ordinary
Ghanaian is made to bear the brunt of these avoidable power outages.
Government must, therefore, come clean on the current power crisis as a matter
of urgency and desist from engaging in blame game.
Shifting blame and providing conflicting information only goes to exacerbate the
crisis which is threatening lives and businesses across the country.