Ghanaian Chronicle

Unserious Utility Providers

Date published: January 31, 2013

MAJORITY of the residents of Accra metropolis, the nation’s capital, are currently under massive assault from two major fronts. The men and women they pay to supply them with power and water – two essential necessities that make the world go round – have turned on them and holding tight unto their jugular veins.

Last week, the Electricity Company of Ghana Ltd. resumed its load shedding, which began about two months to the 2012 general elections and which really did not end, despite several tongue-in-cheek assurances, before and after the elections that it would soon end.

Whereas previously, dumso-dums was surreptitious, we now have a published schedule of which parts of Accra would enjoy power and when. Besides scarce foodstuffs that are rotting away in deep freezers which no longer freeze, citizens have to carry electric irons to the office to iron out rumpled shirts that they are forced to leave home with.

As if that was not enough, this week, the Ghana Water Company Limited saw it fit to add its own sledgehammer on the heads of Accra residents. For its lack of foresight in foreseeing that its old and over-used filters at Weija could collapse any day, Ghana Water has imposed a six-month schedule of water rationing on the poor residents of Greater Accra, roping them into an abyss that Adenta-Madina residents no longer complain about..

According to an opinion piece published elsewhere in this edition, Ghana has enough water bodies to free it from this double curse of round-the-clock electricity and water rationing. But more often than not, management of our utilities are laid back and reactive, more interested in their pay packets and undeserved allowances than being creative and proactive.

Some years back our western neighbour, Cote d’Ivoire, used to buy power from us. Now we buy from them. What happened? Proactively, they planned into the future and created more capacity than they needed, and here we are – Ghana, the giver of light, is now the taker.

Worse of all, we have non-performing officials who instead of being apologetic have the effrontery to add insult to injury: The Communications Manager of Ghana Water says consumers are responsibility for the shortage of water in Accra:

Hear him on radio XYZ: “GWCL cannot be blamed if demand outstrips supply. If we all do not troop down to the city in search of, let say, greener pastures, we will have enough or adequate resources for everybody in this country. If you go to other regions we have other treatment plants that are underutilized because the population there is not enough.”

Can anyone beat that insolence? If GWCL has over-supply in other regions, what are they waiting for? They should cargo them into Accra to augment supply. Serious companies are always happy to have demand exceed supply. It motivates them to strive for higher profits. At Ghana Water, however, it is an excuse for whining.

But it is not Ghana Water’s fault. The Chronicle blames the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) for its lack of seriousness. Instead of coming down heavily on ECG and GWCL, it loiters about and sends its PRO on air to speculate on what it could do to the boss of the water company for non-performance.

Residents of Accra, brace for more pain. Both your utility providers and their regulator, the PURC, are engaged in macabre dance of promotional gimmicks. They are not at post because of you. It is all about themselves. God save us from ourselves.

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