‘Dumsor’ Déjà Vu: Citizens Demand Clarity Amid Intermittent Power Outages

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By Alex Asare

October 27, 2023. Accra: The recent intermittent power outages the country is experiencing have sparked debates on the return of ‘Dumsor’. Ghanaians are already demanding a scheduled time-table to plan their lives, and yet areas affected and the duration of the outages remain a mystery, adding to the apprehension of the public.

The realization has brought back memories of the intermittent power cuts that once plagued the nation.

At 6pm GMT Thursday, October 26, 2023, parts of the country went dark again. The Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo), the organization that distributes electricity from VRA to individual stations run by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and NEDCo, said in a tersely worded press release that power supply outage was as a result of limited gas supply from Tema.

The release issued by its Corporate Communications Section explained that there was “a supply gap of 550MW at peak time”.


This announcement follows recent concerns about a looming power crisis in Ghana. Independent power producers threatened to shut down their plants due to the government’s unpaid debts, amounting to over $2 billion. However, after discussions with the power distributor, ECG, they retracted their threat.

Economist Dr. Adu Owusu Sarkodie, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) predicted in 2021 that it will take the country between three to five years to recover if authorities continued to allow current power outages to worsen.

In 2022, large swathes of the country experienced unannounced power cuts. Questions were raised about the country’s ability to meet the growing demand for electricity consumption. Government propaganda misused data to dispel fears.

A June 2023 study conducted by the Centre for Socioeconomic Studies (CSS) warned that “the country’s current energy provision was “critically unhealthy and tottering towards a power crisis”.

It stated that the power situation, which could worsen in the coming years, has been exacerbated by the country’s financial distress.

#OccupyGhana/Ghanaiand hit the road iin 2016 to deminstrate against power outages

What caused it

Many analysts believe that government mismanagement of the economy is the cause. Ghana’s energy sector has significant debt. Challenges within the sector have included excess gas supply and over-generation of power. The debt within the energy sector, coupled with the high cost of power generation, creates a brake on the country’s economic development.

Amid the persistent electricity blackouts in Ghana, critical issues in the country’s power sector have resurfaced, shining a light on the challenges of insufficient generation capacity, substantial transmission losses, and financial constraints. The erratic power supply has taken a toll on both businesses and households, underscoring the urgent need for sustainable solutions.

A key factor contributing to the power woes is the limited availability of gas, a vital component for Ghana’s power generation. Disruptions in the gas supply chain have further exacerbated the electricity deficit, emphasizing the necessity for effective measures to ensure a steady and dependable power supply. Resolving outstanding debts owed to independent power producers, augmenting generation capacity, enhancing transmission infrastructure, and diversifying the energy portfolio are critical steps that demand immediate attention from the government and industry stakeholders.

Time for a more comprehensive fix

Furthermore, a comprehensive long-term strategy is imperative to secure Ghana’s energy future. Embracing alternative energy sources, including solar and wind power, alongside prioritizing energy efficiency and conservation measures, can help build a resilient energy framework for the nation.

The recent power outages have prompted a reevaluation of the significance of reliable electricity for both the country’s economic progress and the day-to-day lives of its citizens. Collaboration between the government and power sector entities is vital to confront these challenges and establish a robust, sustainable electricity supply system that can power Ghana’s growth and development.

Impact on Ghanaians

While rumors of the return of dumsor abound, business persons are wondering what will become of their already suffering investments. Abeiku Ampah is the CEO of BeniBee Plus Cold Store at the Kaneshie Market in Accra. He laments that “the dumsor tends to cripple economic activities, which will call for more investment on extra resources to sustain businesses. As if things are not already bad”.

Ghanaweb/ Girl studying at night

University students are already jittery about the possible effects of the return to the era of dumsor.

“The current intermittent outages, if not fixed, will cause educational deficit for students”, recalls Christian Aboagye, an evening student of the African University College of Communications (AUCC). “The last time when dumsor was around, studies had to be compromised due to the problem of the power crisis. Not again. I don’t want to experience it”.

He said, besides students, motorists get confused when traffic lights on Ghana’s roads get disrupted in parts of the country.

“There are more accidents recorded during periods of outages. Not to mention telecom services and banking services like ATMs, among other businesses which are dependent on power”, points out Aboagye.


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