News that the country faces an indefinite national black-out (dumsor) in the near future is very frightening. It is frightening because the people of Ghana, and indeed the business community, do not deserve another dose of what they experienced between 2012 and 2016, when hundreds of patients reportedly died in the operation theatres due to power outages and several companies had to shut down. In fact, the inconveniences that millions of Ghanaians went through are incalculable.
The threat of a ‘second edition’ of dumsor is based on reports that Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country are gearing up to switch off lights this week as a result of the inability of Power Distribution Services (PDS) to respect contractual provisions in the Power Purchase Agreements it inherited from the Electricity Company of Ghana earlier this year.
Actually the Chamber of Independent Power Producers and Bulk Consumers [CIPDIB] has warned that consumers should expect widespread power outages in the coming days…. if PDS fails to pay its financial debt to IPPs, which currently runs into hundreds of millions of dollars, within seven days.
The IPPs, according to the report, would stop generating the 1,925 MW of electricity (representing about 44% of the country’s total installed capacity) that PDS distributes to households, enterprises and public institutions nationwide; a situation which could plunge nearly half of the country into darkness.
What THE NEW PUBLISHER finds more worrying, beyond the treat from the IPPs, is the response from PDS, to the effect that it had no contract with the IPPs, and therefore, owed them no obligation to either respond to their claims or make payments to them.
In fact, PDS’ director of Public Relations, William Boateng, is quoted as bluntly directing the IPPs to contact ECG, if they had any problems regarding debts.
While we do not hold brief for any of the ‘combatants’ in this matter, (the Independent Power Producers and Power Distribution Services), the paper sees the development as a potential FIGHT BETWEEN TWO ELEPHANTS, whose victim, is certainly not going to be the grass, but the good people of Ghana.
In our view, after paying for electricity, consumers need not suffer unduly for someone else’s inefficiency. We, therefore, call on the powers that be, and for that matter the Energy ministry, to bring pressure to bear on whoever is responsible for the debt, and compel them to do the needful.
During the four years of the ‘first edition’ of dumsor, reports say 885 Small/Medium Enterprises lost huge sums of monies, while several others folded up, excluding the millions of attendant job losses.
This year alone, several parts of the country have already witnessed sporadic power outages, some of which went unexplained. Could these outages be seen as the ‘unhappy prologues to a swelling act? Well, only time will tell.
As far as THE NEW PUBLISHER is concerned, Ghana cannot afford another dumsor. In fact Ghanaians won’t accept it.