Barely a week after the Volta River Authority (VRA) had announced an end to the national electricity load-shedding exercise, the country has witnessed two major blackouts within a space of 24 hours, bringing the total number of nationwide blackouts to four.
The first of the national blackouts occurred on January 22; the second was on February 27, while the third and fourth occurred on March 21 and 22, this year. System failure and system overload have been the sing-song from the VRA and the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo).
In the second incident on February 27, 2012, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) gave an ultimatum to the VRA, GRIDCo and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to take urgent steps to prevent a recurrence. Unfortunately, not much has been heard from the commission after the expiration of the ultimatum.
This time round, it is the government that has given a 24-hour ultimatum to GRIDCo, the VRA and the ECG ro submit a technical report detailing the circumstances leading to the nationwide blackouts in recent times.
But we want to serve notice to the Ministry of Energy, the VRA, GRIDCo and the ECG that graphic.com.gh will be on their heels to find out the outcome of the ultimatum. This is particularly so because the key players seem to know the cause of the problems — system overload and system failure.
If our energy providers and distributors already know the problems causing these national heartaches, why don’t they take steps to address them? For instance, if a system overload could cause a national blackout, why would they not take action to ease the load by reducing it through load-shedding?
Load-shedding is nothing new to Ghanaians and we believe the people are humane enough to appreciate the consequences of an overloaded system, rather than endure a total national blackout. What if, in the course of restoring the system, there is total collapse of the source of energy for this country?
We pride ourselves on being the gateway to West Africa and our leaders have toured the length and breadth of the world to woo investors into the country. But how can investors take us serious if we cannot guarantee them power supply?
Industrial establishments, corporate institutions and small-scale enterprises require regular and sustainable energy supply to operate.
Consequently, these undesirable national blackouts can only be detrimental to the national development agenda by derailing national economic gains as a whole. We also wonder if we can achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All Accelerated Framework (SEAAF) by 2015.
Four major national blackouts within a space of three months suggest that there is something seriously wrong, not only with our national power supply system but also the people at the helm of affairs.
The Daily Graphic thinks it is high time we began to hold our leaders accountable for some of these lapses. After all, they all sign performance contracts for which they must be held accountable. It is because we failed to hold these appointees accountable that has given room for Ghanaians to always blame politicians for the woes of the nation.