Media Advised To Place Energy Crisis Above Partisan Politics

Dr Kwabena DonkorTHE Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, Dr Kwabena Donkor, has asked the media to “elevate the energy crises” facing the country above partisan politics.

He said the inability of the country to resolve the problem was because the energy crisis had been tagged with either the National Democratic Congress or New Patriotic Party colours.

Dr Donkor who is the NDC Member of Parliament for Pru Constituency in the Brong-Ahafo Region opined that the energy crisis had to do with “fundamental structural challenge” and urged the media to set the agenda by elevating the issue as a national challenge for debate to engender solutions.

He made the remark yesterday in Accra at the launch of a national energy conservation campaign dubbed, ‘Switch off your deep freezer’ organised by the Energy Commission in collaboration with the Ghana Television Consortium, to sensitise and mobilise public support to conserve energy.

“Instead of 24 hours of radio talk on NDC and NPP politics, let us look for national solutions to address the energy crisis,”Dr Donkor said, adding that both NDC and NPP had experienced challenges in the energy sector while in power.

He said “energy conservation is a missing link in the country energy management” and stressed on the need to support the campaign.

The country has been experiencing energy challenges because demand outstrips supply, resulting in a load

shedding management which is normally being referred to “dumsor, dumsor,” an Akan expression which means switch on and off.

As at yesterday, officials from the energy sector said the country’s energy generation capacity stood at 1,600 megawatts with demand being 2,000 megawatts, leading to shortfall of 400 megawatts.

The ideal, therefore, is to launch the conservation campaign to mobilise consumers to simultaneously switch off their deep freezers between 6 pm and midnight to conserve energy for all consumers to have access to electricity to watch the FIFA World Cup tournament.

With about 1.2 million deep freezer ownership in the country and two million fridge ownership John Jinapor, Deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum, who launched the campaign explained that by obeying to switch off deep freezers between that period, about 400 megawatts of energy would have been conserved, equally two Kpong power generation plants.

It is estimated that freezers consumed 54 per cent of electricity at homes, and the campaign also aims at making consumers of energy to reduce the usage of air conditioners, water heaters, and high energy consuming floodlights. Mr. Jinapor allayed fears that products in the fridges would get rotten with the switch-off, explaining that modern freezers had insulators that could keep frozen items in the fridge for between 48 and 72 hours without getting rotten.

Making a strong passionate appeal to Ghanaians to support the campaign to conserve energy, Mr Jinapor said the exercise would not only lead to reduction in consumers’ bill but also helped save lot of money for infrastructural development.

With telephony penetration at 26 million in the country, the deputy minister appealed to the telecommunication operators to use their network to send text messages to subscribers to remind them to “switch off their freezers” at the peak period to conserve energy.

Mr. Jinapor lamented that GH¢7 million was being spent every day to import light crude oil to power the thermal plants, adding that the authority spent 80 per cent of its revenue in oil importation.

An energy expert, Dr Kwabena Ampofo, a member of the Energy Commission board said the campaign would be sustained beyond the world cup tournament so that “Ghanaians will imbibe the culture of energy conservation”, for their own benefit and for the benefit of the country.

He said the campaign was “a win-win situation” and that no one would be made worse off.

The Executive Director of the commission, Dr Alfred Ahenkorah, stressed on the energy conservation campaign and appealed to the public to support the campaign saying that the challenges facing the country was a major one.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

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