Ask someone in Cantonments about dumsor and they might respond, “What is dumsor?” And it won’t be just because he or she is a foreign diplomat unfamiliar with the local slang for erratic power supply. It could also be because residents of Cantonments hardly experience the energy crisis popularly called “dumsor,” unlike residents of, say, Chorkor.
As Ghanaians continue to endure crippling power cuts, everyone has a dumsor story—loss of business, unemployment, undone homework, unplanned pregnancy, and so on. Every now and then, people report the situation is getting better or worse—depending on where they live. So, until now, the big picture has been dark.
The Dumsor Report is the first scientific analysis of load-shedding patterns as experienced by consumers. Researchers selected respondents from 32 areas of Accra (based on ECG’s last published schedule) to report each time their power went on or off between April 28 to May 11, 2015. Analysis of the data shows the following results:
- Ridge in Accra is at the top of the table, with 329 out of 336 possible hours of power (98%) while Chorkor, at the bottom, with 103 out of 336 (31%).
- The average area had power 57% of the time.
- Ministries had the longest period of “sor” (power): 326 hours (13.5 days).
- From May 5 to 8, Pokuase ACP went into extra time with 74 hours of “dum,” (lights out).
- Weija Old Barrier had 38 disco lights (frequency of on/off) while Ministries had only one off, which lasted 10 hours.
- The brightest day was May 2 when 71% of the total possible amount of power was provided.
- The darkest day was April 28 when 47% of the total possible amount of power was provided.
- The brightest hour was between 6p.m. and 7p.m. on May 4 when only 16% were in DUM.
- The darkest hour was from 6p.m. to 7p.m. on May 7 when 86% were in DUM.
- Thirteen times, ECG sha’d the body (pretended) of consumers with less than one hour of light. The shortest was for Laterbiokoshie on May 2, when the light came on for 35 seconds and went back to DUM for 34 hours.
“The data quantify three main aspects to the dumsor crisis: shortage, uncertainty, and inequality,” says Kobina Aidoo, the report’s author. “While the shortage is known by all and the uncertainty is experienced by most, the inequality in distribution is an eye-opener. We did not find a clear pattern linking power supply to affluence but it is insightful to see that some of the areas where most people can afford generators are getting three times as much electricity as the areas where most people can’t. Thus, this crisis is worsening inequality in Ghana. We can’t increase supply overnight, but we can certainly improve certainty and equality,” he adds.
Commenting on the study, industry expert Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby says the findings show that “the only schedule that matters is where ECG thinks it will get paid.”
The Dumsor Report allows Ghanaians to begin to analyze these patterns with hard data rather than just anecdotes.
The report is in the form of six main charts:
- Summary infographic
- Timeline of on/off for each area
- Timeline of the total amount of power received by consumers for the period
- Ranking of amount of power received
- Ranking of frequency of on/off
- Comparison of ECG’s schedule and the actual schedule experienced by consumers.
By: Kobina Aidoo/citifmonline.com/Ghana
Research Assistant: Ewuramma Dontoh