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21.03.2007 General News

Energy Crisis

There is no remedy in sight. The volume of water in the Volta Lake keeps dwindling by the day. It is well below the minimum operating level but we are compelled to generate power from the dam.

The energy problem is such that it requires all of us to think and find the most convenient solution, while we pray that the rains in the catchment area of the dam will come early this year and continue for many months.

This is, therefore, not the time to find scapegoats or pass blame on who should have done what. We have failed as a nation to ensure a reliable and sustained supply of energy.

The closure of the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) will bite us. Those who have, at all times, found fault with the company's use of energy will no doubt talk about the repercussions of the closure and, for once, will come to the realisation that apart from being a Ghanaian company, VALCO plays a vital role in the national economy.

VALCO operations and the dependant downstream companies are not the only ones affected by the inadequate power supply.

For a very long time now the price of cement has been stable on the market. However, because of the energy problem, we have a Herculean task with the astronomical rise in the price of cement, depending on the particular region, although GHACEM has clearly underlined the fact that it has not increased the ex-factory price of the product.

In the face of the inclement weather and the fact that most people have to work in formal employment, they cannot enjoy the benefits of a reliable power supply, either for the cooling of their rooms or preservation of food items.

Necessity, it is often said, is the mother of invention. That is why we must not look at the current energy crisis as a threat but a challenge to motivate our energy experts and policy makers to think and bring their brains to bear on the problem.

For, if we are not careful, the crisis could set the clock of progress backwards. Once prices begin to soar, while production slumps, inflation will be the concomitant.

More important, once there is a decrease in the volume of local products, we will not be able to raise expected revenue.

The other unintended concomitant could be an increase in imports which will, in the end, undermine local production.

So, we have to be smart and take a critical look at the alternatives, especially solar energy, which those with expertise consider to be appropriate to our cause.

If we fail to act decisively, the economic gains we have made might wane and, at the end of the day, the Electricity Company of Ghana would have a tough time collecting electricity bills.

A stitch in time, they say, saves nine. We must, therefore, move to stave off any unintended erosion of the economic gains and incapacitation of industrial productivity.

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