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30.03.2007 General News

Review Of Load Shedding

Indications from the Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) clearly point to the fact that demand for power is greater in the night than in the day time.

Therefore, if there is the need for load shedding, between the day and night it should be more meaningful and beneficial to do so in the night.

Normal industrial activities take place in the day time. The cost of labour is higher in the night than in the day time. That is why night shift workers are paid some allowances when they work beyond certain hours in the night.

Accordingly, we would want to join hands with the Trades Union Congress and the Ghana Employers Association in their call on the VRA and the ECG to review the load-shedding exercise and carry out the power outages on alternate nights instead of the day and night alternation.

Whatever the case, we have been seriously inconvenienced by the load-shedding exercise. Indeed, housewives have come under intense stress as they can no longer store food items and other perishable goods.

The rate of unemployment is already bad so there is no need to bring it to the fore by insisting on power outages in the day time to compel industrial establishments to lay off some staff.

Industrial production and productivity must be maintained at a certain level.

Apart from the possibility of lay-offs, there is the concomitant scarcity of certain products and the possibility of price hikes. The case of cement readily comes to mind, with serious consequences for the construction sector.

While domestic consumers of power will feel the absence of regular power in the night, including the use of alternatives, including candles which could lead to fire outbreaks, they will not gain much if they enjoy power in the night only to face scarcity of industrial products.

One would prefer enduring the searing heat in the night without electricity to being laid off because there is no power for the company which employs one to produce.

Thus, all in all, we all stand to benefit better from the load-shedding exercise if it is carried out in the night than in the day time.

What this might mean is the intensification of security patrols in the areas where there would be no power to protect the public from the ravages of robbers who often capitalise on power outages to carry out their nefarious activities.

After all, for domestic consumers, the key need is for the preservation of perishable items. Otherwise, the light in certain areas is usually put out for natural sunlight and air to prevail.

If there is the need to sacrifice, then we must do so in the night when demand for power is greater so that the savings made could be deployed into industrial production the next day.