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29.02.2012 Editorial

EDITORIAL: Blackouts Unaccepatable

By Daily Graphic
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We are barely two months into 2012 but already the country has experienced two major and disturbing power outages that raise serious concerns about the state of the nation’s energy supply.

The second of the nation-wide blackouts this year which occurred last Sunday lasted for about three hours, causing a lot of anxiety and discomfort for many people across the country.

Although the energy providers, on both occasions, attributed the blackout to system failure, the fact that the two incidents occurred in a space of about one month suggests that there is something seriously wrong with our national power supply system.

The DAILY GRAPHIC, therefore, calls on the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) to take immediate steps to rectify the situation before it gets out of hand.

This is in view of the significant role electricity plays in the country’s socio-economic development. We are happy that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission has summoned the VRA and GRIDCo to a meeting today to seek an explanation for the blackout and chart the way forward.

A large number of industrial establishments, corporate institutions and small-scale businesses all require a regular and sustainable energy supply to operate.

For that reason, any undesirable shocks in energy supply could be detrimental to their operations and derail national economic gains as a whole.

With the huge development challenges facing the nation, the supply of sustainable and regular power is very crucial for the facilitation of industrial growth and expansion.

At a time when the government is making strenuous efforts to woo foreign investors into the country, it is important not to give any false signal of unstable power supply to those investors.

The VRA, the ECG and GRIDCo must, therefore, take a serious view of the recent challenges in power supply and their wider national implications.

We know that these blackouts are technical challenges beyond human imagination but the need to fix them is also imperative, given the fact that the United Nations has declared 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

The initiative, which was inspired by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, acknowledges the significant role energy plays in enhancing economic growth and reducing poverty.

Currently, energy experts in Ghana are consulting for the formulation of a national action plan towards achieving the UN Sustainable Energy for All Accelerated Framework (SEAAF) by 2015.

However, considering the extensive and seemingly rampant blackouts in recent times, there is great doubt as to whether Ghana could achieve the goals of sustainable energy for all as championed by the UN.

The earlier we act on the energy problem, the better it would be for the country’s development drive.

It is, however, heartwarming that the next Millenium Challenge Corporation compact for Ghana will focus on renewing the country’s energy supply needs. Looking at the precarious nature of the supply mix now, it is important for all government agencies to work hard towards the approval of the compact by the US government.

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