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Keep Electricity Supply Constant

Apr 29, 2008, 8:26 AM

We have been enjoying a relatively consistent electricity supply for some time now. This has been a blessing to all who can afford it in the Greater Banjul Area. To have a good, dependable supply of electricity is vital to our development. It benefits not only tourism but also industry. Many businesses depend heavily on their electricity and pay NAWEC handsomely for the privilege of a good supply. One or two of our neighbours have a lot of ground to cover before they reach the level we are at in The Gambia with regard to supply so we must be thankful for what we have.

On the other hand, however, people pay a very high price for their electricity. As we have written in these pages many times before, the cost of supply puts many people to the pin of their collar. It is for this reason that people have a right to expect a constant supply.

Unfortunately in the last few weeks people in many areas have been experiencing blackouts with increasing frequency. Why is this happening? Is it an indicator of a serious problem or merely a glut of small problems all manifesting themselves at once?

Whatever the problem may be, something must be done to address it as quickly as possible. It is all well and good for those who can afford to go and flick the switch of a generator if the main power supply fails, but what of all the families who are simply plunged into darkness without warning? It has to be said that the power will generally return but only towards the end of the night when the family will be preparing to go to bed for a good night's sleep.

NAWEC have no difficulty in cutting off the supply to anyone who does not pay the bill. We the consumers however have not got the choice of ceasing to do business with them when we are let down with regard to supply on a regular basis. For this reason they must be extra diligent in their work and try to ensure that power cuts become things that happen once in a blue moon.

If, as President Jammeh has wisely said, The Gambia could begin to make use of our massive potential solar power, we might achieve this goal in a relatively short period of time. If infrastructure is the problem then perhaps a public/private partnership could be established to make the necessary repairs and upgrades. If the company chosen to partner the government in this venture were Gambian then this would also help to create more employment.

As we continue along the road to development we will no doubt leave the days of blackouts behind and that will be a good thing for all concerned.

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