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The Father Christmas ECG  Brought To Our Homes   
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The novelty of Santa Claus or “Father Christmas”, that fat, bearded man who comes from the North Pole with a heavy sack full of goodies to share out to good and well-behaved children every Christmas, was not a familiar expectation growing up.

For my generation, the excitement surrounding Christmas was that sure banker of a delicious meal that usually went with a bottle of soft drink and Christmas crackers. A new dress and a pair of shoes were additional complements of the season. I have since come to accept that for children, a real Christmas is when that fat, bearded man from the North Pole came knocking with his sack full of freebies to share.

And so this Christmas, even though many may have missed the fat, bearded man knocking at their doors with his sack, in my neighbourhood we had a good Christmas.

The mighty Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and its supplier, the Ghana Grid company (GRIDCo), came to our homes with a half full sack loaded with continuous power supply, something we have been missing for some months now.

Unbelievably, we had Father Christmas ECG distributing electricity continuously throughout the Christmas holidays, apart from rude short spells of interruptions at 10 p.m. last Saturday and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Ordinarily, having power continuously for more than forty eight hours should not call for celebration. It is something we have paid for so ECG taking it and then giving it back to us in piecemeal is not a bonus. The reality is that because it is in the nature of the Ghanaian not to insist on what is his or her due, we even sometimes overlook our rights and think someone is doing us a favour. When the system cheats us or robs us of what is due us we are ready to move on and “give it to God”.

As I sat down to write this piece early Monday morning, in my neighbourhood, we were still enjoying the compliments of continuous supply of electricity and taking full advantage of the unusual generosity of Father Christmas ECG. My friend who lives on the other side of Accra was not that lucky.

Just as she thought she had been spared from “dum-sor” this Christmas, her lights went off at 1 p.m. on Boxing Day. She had to cancel her plans for cooking for the long holiday weekend since she could not guarantee good storage overnight.

I have counted myself lucky because unlike my friend, for the first time in so many months, I have seen my freezer gather some ice. I do not have to cook everyday in this heat and I have been able to enjoy the pleasure of reading through the night until I decide to switch off without someone in the “control room” forcibly doing it for me.

The new Minister of Power hardly had time to settle in his seat when his boss publicly reminded him of his charge. He has been tasked by the President to act quickly to end the current load shedding and power outages. That might be a tough nut to crack but maybe not.

GRIDCo tells us that Cote d’Ivoire graciously gave us some 50 megawatts of power supplemented by Bui. As well, they were able to take power from those industries that took breaks for the holiday season. Will the Father Christmas arrangement continue so consumers can also enjoy a life free from power outages and the Minister’s charge fulfilled?

It would be a welcome piece of news for the Minister and his newly created outfit. 2015 should be the year of plentiful supply. That should be the number one resolve of GRIDCo and ECG.

By the way, what explanation does the Ghana Water Company Ltd have for us regarding the sudden dryness in our taps last Sunday morning through to Monday? Did I not hear the Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing say at the “Meet-the press” series last week that we have achieved 85 per cent urban water coverage? And, did the President not officially commission the Kpong water supply expansion project just last week?

Christmas should certainly not be the time for utility companies to short-change us. If they cannot make our lives any better, they should not make it worse for us. Consumers deserve better than what we are getting.

Yes, Father Christmas does not come everyday but as essential to life as they are, we expect utility supplies to be continuous. We could do without unnecessary stress from service providers who think they owe no one everyday service.

Happy New Year to all my readers.

Source: Vicky Wireko/[email protected]

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