The Era of “Dumso Dumso”

The regulated power outages and load management program – named dumso, dumso to imitate the on-off nature of our supply – looks like it has come to stay.

People are aggrieved, especially when it comes after the heels of utility tariffs increment of over 50% in October 2013.

Although various reasons have been given by the bodies responsible for the production, transmission and distribution of power in Ghana, namely Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) respectively, the situation is acutely felt in businesses, industries and by all Ghanaians.

The shortages in the amount of power that is available to distribute have led to a limited power supply to consumers during peak times and even during off-peak times. This has called for an announced load management program to be publicised.

Some have blamed these shortages on the government’s incompetence, while others blame it on the power suppliers. To many, the power suppliers and the government have not fulfilled their part of the bargain. Government recently sent a directive to the ECG to publish 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.

On Tuesday 27th March 2014, the Al-hajj newspaper published an article, and I quote : “With independent power producer, Sunon Asogli now producing at full capacity of 200 MW and TICO set to come on stream with another 200MW of power which will bring total restored generation to 400MW, Ghana’s energy challenges popularly christened “Dumso Dumso” barring any unforeseen challenges, would be a thing of the past by Monday, March 31, 2014”.

I can guess by now you are checking what date it is today on your calendar. And to your utmost surprise we are more than halfway through 2014. This is just but one of the many polished lies we keep hearing every day.

However undesirable this situation is, it offers the country a way forward to using this opportunity to correct our energy sector. There is no denying the fact that sustainable energy is the basis of industrialization and that the economy cannot be effectively restructured without an efficient energy sector, both on the demand and the supply side. But for once Ghanaians must be told the truth no matter how bitter it is. For some time now, the power companies have taken their customers for granted and do not tell consumers when to expect power and when they will be sleep in darkness. For such consumers, when power is available, so be it.

After paying high utility bills, the ‘ordinary Ghanaian’, as the politicians call us must be told the hard truth. In a few weeks, the biggest global soccer tournament will kick off in Brazil in which Ghana is participating.

We will need power to be part of this historic event. After all, soccer unifies the political divide. This is our appeal.