By on July 30, 2015
Ghana’s energy crisis has been one of the most popular topics of discussion on mainstream media and social media. The situation is truly unbearable and most people have run out of patience with the government. Especially because the deadlines for fixing the problem that have been communicated to Ghanaians in the past have passed, yet the problem still persists.
It is a problem that affects both private individuals and corporate bodies. Manufacturing industries and companies have had to bear the heavy cost of running operations with the aid of generator sets. This is very expensive, considering the ever-rising fuel prices in the country. Therefore it has had a heavy toll on many companies in the country. Individuals have also been hit by exorbitant prices charged by traders and retailers because costs of production have gone high. The energy crisis in Ghana is currently a major economic problem.
Code for Ghana data fellow, Nana Baah Gyan made this visualization about the number of times people searched for ‘dumsor’ on Wikipedia from May 01 to July 15 using R. It appears the conversation on dumsor online reached an all-time high in May and dropped again. What could be the possible causes of this phenomenon? It couldn’t be that Ghanaians lost interest in expressing their disgust at the erratic power supply in the country after May.
A closer look at the events in the country in May this year would reveal logical reasons why the discussions on dumsor online peaked in that month. As stated already, most people found the promise-and-fail attitude of the government extremely annoying so they often took to social media platforms to vent their spleen. In the first few days of May, Ghanaians were told that the energy crisis would ease by 8th May. The Atuabo Gas Processing plant was shut down on 20th April to undergo some maintenance works. This worsened the already poor power supply Ghanaians were experiencing at the time. It was short-lived as a few weeks later the Volta River Authority began receiving gas from the Atuabo Gas plant through the Aboadze thermal enclave to power its machines. Based on this, the situation was expected to ease right away. Though not right away, the erratic power supply got better as the days and weeks went by.
Another event that caused the heightened interest in dumsor in May was the ‘dumsor must stop’ vigil which was organized by Yvonne Nelson and some other celebrities in the country. The vigil which received massive media coverage and social media buzz started on twitter. It got the attention of some international news agencies such as the BBC. Yvonne Nelson was even granted an interview on BBC following the fact that the hashtag that was created for the movement (#dumsorMustStop) went viral on social media. The vigil was held through some principal streets of Accra on 16th May.
The problem still persists. The Ghana Grid Company Limited is currently replacing some over-aged equipment at their various substations all over the country to enhance their capacity and operational reliability to benefit power consumers all over the country. This means that the seemingly improving power supply in the country, has reverted to its former state. It is the hope of every Ghanaian to see the a substantial improvement in the energy crisis. Let’s wait and see how this might affect the next ‘Wikipedia dumsor curve’ in subsequent months.