Saturday, May 16, 2015

On “Dumsor” in Accra: How Do Some Ghanaians Cope?

As Ghana’s energy crisis deepens, many Ghanaians have resorted to finding alternative strategies for coping with irregular power supply across the country. The Ashesi Research Committee undertook a poll of some residents in Accra to provide an indication of how households are coping.* 
The survey, conducted in Accra in March, had some 780 participants, and tried to determine how people managed the power challenges based on their accomodation arrangements. 
Most of the respondents (45.9%) lived in rented apartments; the second largest group was of respondents living in their own homes (38.7%). Less than 9% of the respondents lived in institutional (8.6%) and other types of accommodation (6.8%). Other types of accommodation cited by the respondents included living in kiosks, with friends, living in the market, among others.
Overall, 21.7% of the respondents sampled used rechargeable lamps during power outages while 21.4% used generators. The least popular strategies for coping among those sampled were inverters with electrical mains (less than 1%) or solar panels (1.4%), kerosene lanterns (2.3%) and solar lanterns (3.5%).  

The team also observed some variation in the choices across the various residences of the respondents. The generator is the most common option among respondents living in their own homes (29.5%). Rechargeable lamps (22.2%) and battery-operated lamps (15.9%) were also frequently used alternatives. On the contrary, rechargeable lamps and battery-operated lamps have a higher frequency of use among respondents living in rented accommodation (greater than 20%). 
Some households are gradually adapting to the power crisis by using non-traditional alternatives such as the torchlight from their mobile phones. Traditional alternatives such as kerosene lanterns and "bobo" (traditional kerosene/paraffin oil lanterns) were also noted to be in use. The survey also showed that a few households did not have any alternative as at the time of this survey.

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