What’s inflicting the ‘dumsor’ blackouts? – DW – 04/02/2024 | EUROtoday

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As night time falls close to the city of Tamale in northern Ghana, Rakiya Mumuni should scramble to discover a candle. Once the one gentle is flickering in her small kitchen, Rakiya can start cooking.

“Sometimes we use our phones but because we were not aware [of a pending power outage]now my phone is off and I have to depend on this candle here,” she instructed DW.

There’s been an electrical energy outage in Rakiya’s Gumani neighborhood since morning, so she hasn’t been capable of cost her cellphone.

Ghana's parliament in sitting
Even Ghana’s parliament was not spared ‘dumsor’, when the state electrical energy provider mentioned it owed over $1 million in unpaid paymentsImage: Isaac Kaledzi/DW

Ghanaian neighborhoods like Rakiya’s have been experiencing extended electrical energy outages in the previous few weeks.

It’s a part of a nationwide energy disaster that impacts not solely residential customers like Rakiya but in addition companies — huge and small.

By the roadside in Tamale, the ability outage has left many welders idle. Alhassan Abdul Rahaman has misplaced many welding jobs because of the energy disaster.

“One military man came last Friday for us to make a window for him. We gave him time to come back for it,” Rahaman instructed DW. “But due to the ‘dumsor dumsor’ we couldn’t deliver it and the man was about to attack us.”

‘Dumsor dumsor’ — a phrase in Ghana’s Akan language that interprets to ‘energy reduce’ — has turn into shorthand for describing Ghana’s electrical energy woes, in the identical approach folks in South Africa confer with  ‘loadshedding.’

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What’s inflicting the ability outages?

The native electrical energy regulator blames the ability cuts on overloaded transformers. But consultants say it’s partly because of the nation’s lack of ability to pay personal electrical energy suppliers, who present the majority of Ghana’s electrical energy.

Ghana’s state energy firm, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), owes over $1.7 billion (€1.6 billion) to those suppliers.

The sum of unpaid payments has turn into so huge that energy suppliers have usually refused to proceed supplying electrical energy.

This consists of the Ghanaian parliament, which in March was plunged into darkness over a debt of $1.8 million, in line with the ECG.

Salifu Mubarik, an economist on the University for Development Studies in Tamale, mentioned it’ll take pressing and deliberate funding to get the nation out of the state of affairs.

“Looking at the current debt we have accumulated as a country pending the restructuring that is still ongoing, I doubt whether government can meet the demands of the independent power producers,” Mubarik instructed DW

“The best thing government will can do is to renegotiate with them.”

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Return to energy cuts

Ghana, a rustic that’s wealthy in mineral assets, has been accused of crawling again to the interval of 2012 to 2016 when it was in a  severe energy disaster.

The state of affairs partially stabilized for practically a decade — however it’s starting to worsen once more.

Many blame dangerous governance. Despite the ability woes, Ghana will not be in need of pure assets. It boasts three hydro-electric dams: Akosombo, Kpong and Bui.

It additionally has important offshore oil and gasoline reserves, although these are but to be totally exploited.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 63% of Ghanaian electrical energy is generated although pure gasoline, with 34% coming from hydropower.

Despite this, a majority of Ghanaians wouldn’t have a gentle provide of electrical energy, particularly in rural areas.

A fisherman idles in front of an oil rig in Ghana
Ghana’s offshore oil and gasoline reserved are starting to be exploited, however haven’t but helped in producing sufficient energyImage: Berlin Producers

‘Tragic penalties’

In 2021 the IEA reported the common Ghanaian consumes 0.572 megawatt-hours, in contrast 5.924 megawatt-hours of the common German.

Still, a majority of Ghanaians wouldn’t have a gentle provide of electrical energy, particularly in rural areas. Poor maintainence of current electrical energy infrastructure, and Ghana’s present financial downturn have additionally been blamed for the blackouts.

The energy cuts have additionally been blamed for particular person tragedies.

Last week, Ghanaian media reported a 24-year-old mom saying her 3-day-old child died on the Tema General Hospital because of the energy outage.

While well being officers later denied that the kid’s loss of life was the results of an influence reduce or hospital gear not functioning, the story nonetheless shocked extraordinary Ghanaians, like Irene Dery, who lives in Tamale.

“When I saw the video of the baby dying at the Tema hospital, I became so devastated and so depressed, and I asked myself — where is this country heading to?” she instructed DW.

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Increased demand for energy

According to Ghana’s Energy Commission,electrical energy consumption within the residential sector has been steadily rising on the fee of 4.3% yearly within the final twenty years, partly on account of fast urbanization and inhabitants progress.

Northern Ghana specifically is experiencing excessive heatwaves this yr, and engineer Issahaku Mubarik, an power skilled on the University for Development Studies, mentioned extraordinary folks have been investing in methods to mitigate the recent temperatures — usually in ways in which require much more electrical energy.

“This has made a lot of people to go in for air conditioners, and with more air conditioners it means that our electricity usage will spike up,” Mubarik instructed DW.

“Infrastructure planning should have projected and made adequate provision to take care of but they’ve not been able to make that provision.”

Portrait of Issahaku Mubarik, engineer at Tamale's University for Development Studies
Engineer Issahaku Mubarik believes hotter temperatures will power extra Ghanaians to purchase energy-intensive merchandise like air-conImage: Maxwell Suuk/DW

Meanwhile, again in Gumani, Rakiya Mumuni’s fridge may barely hold her perishable meals recent because of the unstable energy provide and low voltage. She’s needed to eliminate the rotting meals — a waste.

Rakiya and others need the electrical energy firm to roll out an influence reduce schedule for Ghanaians to plan their lives — like within the previous days.

“Some years back we had this dumsor, and then they told us the time — maybe 6 to 6 and we could prepare and know what to do,” she instructed DW.

“But now it’s not like that. They can just take the light when they like, it just goes off anytime you are not aware, you are not prepared.”

This article has been tailored by Cai Nebe from a radio report that was broadcast on DW’s every day podcast AfricaHyperlink