#Article (Archive)

What's wrong with NAWEC?

Oct 7, 2010, 12:36 PM

There is no denying the fact that the electricity supply situation in this country has deteriorated abysmally for the past two months or so. From Banjul to Brikama, people have literally been thrown into darkness, making life very difficult for everyone.

Indeed, this state of affairs is, to say the least, strange in the sense that NAWEC had, in recent years, symbolized this country's enviable success in the power supply sub-sector, especially in our part of the world.

What makes the situation even more confusing is the fact that, unlike in the past, NAWEC has not been running many public notices, as expected, to keep the general public properly informed on the situation at hand.

However, keeping the consumers adequately informed is, in fact, more essential now that power outage has become more frequent, especially in the past two months.

It is trite to enumerate the consequences of power outage.

October being the start of the new tourist season, NAWEC should understand that the prolonged blackouts could endanger our tourism sector, which is one of the country's major foreign exchange earners and employment providers.

As people have had to sleep in oppressive heat at night, health conditions and body temperatures have been running high, with the result that more people are complaining of headaches, asthma and high blood pressure, not to mention the reality that more and more people are likely to be afflicted by malaria.

Besides, businesses are now almost flat on their backs, with the additional cost of fueling their standby generators, as well as other attendant ills associated with the frequent breaks in electricity supply.

Much more worrisome is that, even now, with the power outages, consumers are being billed heavily for electricity and water consumption. These high bills are sometimes difficult to be settled by consumers, who eventually get their metres disconnected. When this happens, which is often, they run from pillar to post to have their metres restored.

In any case, citizens expect that in return for being billed heavily, they should be given excellent service.

Yet this is not usually the case. While power outage is frequent, electricity and water bills remain astronomical.

As we have always pointed out, using candles have caused a lot of fire outbreaks in the country, some of which have led to loss of lives and properties.

Actually, the benefits of having uninterrupted power supply day in day out are too numerous to state here. Suffice to note that electricity is the pivot of any modern economy.

In this dire situation, it is imperative that we ask: What is to be done about NAWEC's present situation?

"I'm not frightened of the darkness outside. It's the darkness inside houses I don't like".