#Article (Archive)

Power supply and society

Aug 4, 2010, 5:04 PM

While we do not know the exact problems the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) is grappling with in recent times, the spate of electricity disruptions continues to go on unabated, and is cause for concern.

Is it all to do with the recent fire incident reported at Kotu power station? Perhaps NAWEC should be issuing updates on what is being done to repair the damage, and tell the general public how soon they expect things to be back to normal.

In any case, the Gambia, which has been credited for having one of the most stable electricity supplies in the sub-region, could not afford to be derailed by this current situation.

Indeed, this state of affairs, in itself, does not tell well, as most investors, especially in the tourism industry and the services sector generally want to be assured of a stable electricity supply in a country, before they venture to make huge capital investments, particularly in Africa.

Moreover, even though Gambians nowadays are experiencing frequent power cuts, yet electricity and water bills are soaring. To average Gambian consumer of its services, the reasoning is that NAWEC is not getting enough to meet its mounting costs, which are being passed on.

Sometime ago, it was even being said that NAWEC was not able to meet its obligations to the public, because consumers defaulted in settling their utility bills.

Whatever the case, while it is quite possible to manage the situation to an extent that things would look normal, in the run-up to the Ramadan, it would even go from bad to wrong if proper measures are not put in place to address this crisis.

In our view, the government needs to study the electricity supply problems of the country quite thoroughly, draw up an action plan and come up with a concrete blue-print to address the situation once and for all.

This is based on the fact that ad hoc measures are known not only to be unsustainable, but also more costly in the long run.

We need energy to keep the factories running. We need energy to keep businesses on the fast track and, at the domestic front, we need energy to preserve our foodstuff etc.

The inconvenience of life without electricity is all too obvious for all to see. Chief among them is the added costs to running a business.

Now that the country has enjoyed reliable and constant electricity supply over the past several years, this trend should not be allowed to be reversed to the situation of the many years of darkness endured in this country, before things improved tremendously recently.

It is our belief that NAWEC should work day in, day out to make sure that Gambians get not only reliable but affordable power supply. We wish the new management the best of luck in addressing the current situation, with the urgency it deserves.


"The good is the beautiful".