Dumsor will end today!!!

light-537x330One of my Facebook friends who sometimes criticizes my write-ups, after reading my recent article, “Gone too Soon”, in her comment rebuked me for being bias and not writing about dumsor. Even though I responded that I have already written a couple of stuffs on dumsor, her remarks set me thinking, and that gave birth to this article.

In the mid 1990’s when Ghana experienced another severe energy crisis, I wrote a book titled, “Sorrows of Electricity” which was tailored towards solving the problem permanently through attitudinal change.

The book which was published in 1995, won the Valco Trust Fund Literary Award in the same year. The Electricity Corporation of Ghana sponsored 50,000 copies of the first publication. Later, in 2009, the Ministry of Education adopted my book, and 200,000 copies were made available to schools across the country.

In 1995, the then Managing Director of ECG, Mr. John Kobina Hagan, wrote an interesting foreword to my book which sounds very prophetic. It is as follows:

Whether in our homes, offices or factories, electricity has become the driving force which keeps our lives moving on a steady course. We have become so dependent on it that any interruption in its supply translates into multiple effects on our social and economic lives.

Yet, as we have witnessed in this country, Ghana, the sustainable production of this all-important resource has increasingly become a difficult task. We have witnessed the decline in our electricity production capacity as a result of several factors.

The fluctuating water level at the Akosombo Dam, for instance, is part of “Sorrows of Electricity” in Ghana.

But beyond these, what Anthony Obeng Afrane has so clearly portrayed in “Sorrows of Electricity” is that we, the human beings whom electricity serves, are the major cause of its woes.

The evidences are amply portrayed in the book: the misuse and abuse of electricity; illegal use of its services and refusal to pay the correct charge which makes sustainable generation and distribution difficult, since rising costs cannot be met.

There are more: disregard of safety measures in the use of electrical appliances, also contributes to the problems of electricity.

The book thus carries an important message to everyone – young and old alike: if we are to avert a major energy crisis in Ghana, then we must change our attitude towards the use of electricity.

The importance of this message makes “Sorrows of Electricity” a must for every school, workplace and home in Ghana.

Did you get it? In 1995, it was stated in the foreword of my book that, “if we are to avert a major energy crisis in Ghana, then we must change our attitude towards the use of electricity.” A decade after this statement was made, have we changed our attitude? NO! A decade after this statement was made, are we facing a major energy crisis? YES!

I think we should hold ourselves guilty of greater impropriety in the use of electricity as a people. It is disheartening to see electric bulbs blazing in broad day light, and nobody cares. Illegal connection of electricity is so endemic that it is alleged that even some pastors indulge in it. Yet, we push the blame on to one person – the poor young man from Bole. Yes, he has promised to fix it, and I believe he will. However, realistically, he cannot do it in a day, but we, the people living in Ghana can. I will explain.

Research has proven that one-third of electricity produced in this country go waste through misuse; this is roughly about 500 mega watts which is in far excess of the present shortfall which has brought about dumsor; we can do something about it now! Yes, we can!

For instance, electrical appliances with remote control systems consume power at the rate of 15-25 watts, when they are in the “standby” mode. To avoid excessive electricity consumption by these devices, we can turn off the plug when they are not being used. Also, let’s avoid using the electric cooker if possible, and go for a cheaper alternative such as the gas cooker. The electric cooker is the highest electrical energy consumer in our homes; it has a power rating of about 8,500 watts, and consumes 1 unit of electricity in 7 minutes!

Beside this, the electric iron has a rating of between 850 – 1500 watts, and also consumes I unit of electricity every hour. It is, therefore, energy efficient to iron dresses in bulk. Avoid ironing one dress or a handkerchief each time you need them.

To help in the crusade of conserving energy, we can also volunteer to put off our deep freezers for at least two hours a day. The deep freezer has a power rating of 200 watts and consumes 1 unit of electricity in 5 hours: and because it normally works sometimes days uninterrupted, the cumulative effect could be staggering.

Furthermore, let’s put off all lights when we do not need them. It is common to see outside lights of most houses on, as late as 7 AM. Can you imagine the amount of energy that could be saved just within one hour if all homes in Ghana decide to put off their outside lights at 6 AM or before, instead of 7 AM or much later?

Finally, let’s stop using electricity illegally. It is criminal, and a major contributor to dumsor. Government can keep adding hundreds of mega watts of power to our generating capacity, and the crisis could be fixed for let’s say ten years, but due to the annual 12% electricity demand, dumsor will surely rear its ugly head some years later if we don’t change our attitude.

Friends, at this point, with tears in my eyes! I want to make a passionate appeal: let’s hold our hands together as a people, and for once, unite for a common worthy cause. I implore the clergy, imams, celebrities, politicians, civil society groups, religious bodies, think tanks, corporate bodies, businesspeople, all those whose businesses have collapsed because of dumsor, all those who have lost their jobs because of dumsor, all those who have lost their loved ones because of dumsor to change their attitude towards the misuse of electricity now! And also vehementy advocate for its wise use.

By so doing, we would be saving about 500 mega watts of power daily, and dumsor will end today!


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