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Opinions of Sunday, 30 October 2016

Columnist: Graphic.com.gh

Let’s fix power distribution challenges now

We find the explanation by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) that the current power outages being experienced across the country are not an indication of a power crisis or the return to “dumsor” very refreshing.

Ghanaians who have also been very worried that the power outages were a sign that “dumsor” had returned will also heave a sigh of relief.

However, the explanation that the outages have been due to distribution challenges from the scheduled maintenance of some equipment or the repair of technical faults on some equipment is a bit disturbing.

It is not that we don’t believe there should be distribution challenges, but our concern is the rapidity at which those challenges have occurred and resulted in unplanned power outages that have extended to very wide areas.

During last weekend alone, the Mallam and Baatsona Bulk Supply Points were shut off resulting in parts of western and eastern Accra having a cut in their power supply for hours, while Oyarifa in the Dodowa District of the ECG also faced erratic power challenges due to a fault in its transformers.

While we posit that it does not bode well for our security as a nation, if several places would experience darkness simultaneously or incessantly just because of scheduled maintenance or the repair of faults, it also suggests to us that there is something fundamentally wrong with the ECG’s maintenance timetable.

Electricity is a very essential ingredient for development and economic growth as every kind of business and human endeavour depends on it.

Therefore, we believe that any kind of activity that would necessitate the shutting down of electricity substations should be planned very well so as not to create inconveniences for the millions of customers who depend on it.

The Daily Graphic urges the maintenance department of the ECG to space their scheduled maintenance of equipment except when there is an emergency, such that we do not experience the discomfort of power outages that have bugged the country for the past years.

This should be in line with the decision made by the ECG to ensure that all planned maintenance works are completed by November this year.

Before that happens, though, we ask that adequate servicing must be carried out on all power distribution facilities of ECG and all defective parts replaced speedily before they bring about grave consequences to us all. That will also curtail the incidence of the shutdown of bulk supply points and substations due to emergency faults.

We find it assuring that the ECG is receiving enough energy for supply, but what is the use of abundant supply or stock if the electricity cannot be adequately distributed to users?

The Daily Graphic commends the ECG for announcing a scheduled maintenance and also sticking to the period advertised for such maintenance but we believe that there is more to be done by way of ensuring excellent customer service, which only a dedicated staff can make happen.

Meanwhile, we also ask for proper coordination between the ECG and contractors to ensure that electricity cables are not destroyed during road and other construction works.

The ECG should also liaise with the security agencies to apprehend people who vandalise transformers in order to steal copper coils.

Ultimately, we urge the ECG to do all in its power to fix the challenges that result in unplanned power outages, so that customers can enjoy uninterrupted power supply all the time.