9 Jun 2016

Electricity Situation In Savelugu Getting Worse

The erratic power supply that has plagued this nation for more than four years, popularly known as “dumsor” among Ghanaians, is stabilizing gradually and the general economic situation is improving too.  Businesses are beginning to increase production and work output is increasing. However, the situation in the Savelugu Municipality of the northern region of Ghana, which is about thirty minutes drive from Tamale, has assumed a downward trend.
Image - ECG
The erratic power supply in Ghana is called "Dumsor." This is a worrying phenomenon for most Ghanaians.

Savelugu Municipality is mostly a farming community with a few small-scale enterprises dotted across the town. Businesses in Savelugu include grocery stores, barbering and hairdressing saloons, sachet water production, grinding mills, and a few others. All these businesses depend on electricity to operate. So, in the absence of electricity, all businesses tend to suffer in one way or the other.
Savelugu is being supplied with two power lines; the first and more powerful four-phase line and a newer two-phase line.


The part being supplied with the two-phase line never experience any frequent interruptions in power supply as compared to those on the four-phase line. One thing accounting for this is because this line supplies power to just a few households and business ventures. All the major businesses are connected to the four-phase line. Most households in Savelugu and nearby villages depend on the four-phase line. Government facilities such as the district health directorate, the district assembly, district hospital, and the district police station are all connected to the four-phase line.

It is as if the lights have been programmed to work in a certain way. When clouds begin to gather, the lights are sure to go off; when there is a little wind, the lights automatically go off. When these lights go off, it can take about two or three whole days for them to return. Sometimes, nothing is needed for the lights to go off. They just decide to go off.

Ideally, there shouldn’t be a problem if every facility wants to depend on the more powerful line, the four-phase one. It, however, becomes a worry if there is much load on the transformer that regulates this supply. It has been alleged that the electricity has been extended to another village using the same transformer that supplies the Savelugu municipality and its surrounding communities, putting more pressure on the transformer. This has led to intermittent power outages on a daily basis. The power is not stable for work to go on smoothly.

The district hospital suffers the most in this situation. The money needed to buy consumable material is channeled towards fueling the generator to enable routine work to go on. This has left the hospital in a fix. The hospital, which needs renovation and expansion, is not able to do so because of this persistent problem.

When management of the hospital contacted the Savelugu municipal manager of the electricity company, he boldly told them that he doesn't know what the cause of the problem might be. Shocking, you may say, that the manager of electricity in the district doesn't know what the cause of this problem that has lasted over three years is.


Households are not left out of this predicament. Some families are beginning to relocate to the northern regional capital of Tamale because the situation has assumed an alarming proportion. Food in the fridge goes bad; gadgets get destroyed by the continuous fluctuation in electricity; rooms heat up at night and people can’t relax comfortably after a hard day’s work. Even ironing of clothes is a nightmare. There is frustration written on the faces of most of the workers of Savelugu because they have to move up and down every day from Tamale to work and back. This puts a drain on their meager resources.

All the business ventures that depend on electricity come to a standstill because machines such as sachet water producing machines and grinding mills cannot work with the less powerful two-phase power line. Even government workers stop work and perambulate in the absence of light because meetings and important activities cannot go on.

This problem has persisted for more than four years now. Hence, it is not a new problem to managers of electricity in the district. Nevertheless, nothing concrete seems to have been put in place to solve it permanently, apart from the usual firefighting that we see every day.

Instead of working to fix these power challenges, managers are rather interested in attending meetings and conferences where they can get per diem than doing the work they are being paid to do.

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