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Opinions of Friday, 1 September 2006

Columnist: J. A. Fukuor/Daily Dispatch

Letter From The President Blackout nation

Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, I hate to hear electrical engineers talking. When they speak, all I hear is “megawatts, megawatts, megawatts…” Often they don’t make much sense to me. Am not as smart as they are but often times, I have my thinking cap on whiles they don’t. This week, I have heard too much from the megawatt engineers as have you. And it all has to do with what they call “a power rationing exercise”. It’s like a more organized version of the frequent power outages the power companies inflict on us. It’s a programme under which the power companies legitimize their inefficiencies and incompetence -- blame it all on the weather (“there is no water in the Akosombo Dam because there has been very little rainfall in Burkina Faso,” they say.) The good thing about rationing is there when it starts we are often given some advanced warning as to when our houses, offices and factories are going to be plunged into darkness. Those who can afford buy generators to keep their appliances and machinery running. Those who can’t afford, simply improvise. For example, if the blackout plague hits you at a time when there is an exciting TV programme you don’t want to miss, you can carry your TV set from one end of town to another. It has happened before. Remember ‘Acapulco Bay’? For company managers, the power outages lead to reduced productivity, which often results in layoffs. In essence “load shedding” leads to “labour shedding”.