Lights Out in Accra: Dumsor Gets Worse

Since many months we have had a schedule for planned electricity cuts, or dumsor as we onomatopoetically call it here (due to the sound when a whole neighbourhood goes off DUUUM and comes back ‘SOR!)  (dum is Twi for “turn off” and sor for “turn on” I have been informed by a reader, thanks!) I didn’t want to believe the rumours of a new schedule with 24hours of no light and 12 hours with light? But alas it is true.

Just a few days ago my favourite author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote a piece for the New York Times called Lights out in Lagos. Much in her story resonates with the Ghanaian situation. Ngozi Adichie laments: “I spend more on diesel than on food!” What is even more painful for both Ghanaians and Nigerians is:

“how many medical catastrophes have occurred in public hospitals because of “no light,” how much agricultural produce has gone to waste, how many students forced to study in stuffy, hot air have failed exams, how many small businesses have foundered. What greatness have we lost, what brilliance stillborn?


Comments on the worsening situation in Ghana is also worrying. Some comments on social media (it seems all of them are about power these days):

I never thought I would say this, but this new 24 hour load shedding schedule makes me seriously want to flee Ghana for other shores.

24 hr load shedding is the limit! It goes from being a fond talking/joking point between Ghanaians to becoming a health and safety issue.


One of my friends, talented health blogger Kobby Blay wrote a list begging Ghana’s now two ministries dealing with power (all with the same staff?) to consider his plight. He wrote:

 Please give me electricity at home so:

  1. I will always be happy going home
  2. My wife don’t have to call me from the house [saying] we do not have light
  3. Our baby can sleep without waking up oftenbecause of the unbearable heat
  4. We can avoid the mosquito and malaria that come with it
  5. Our foodstuffs wont have to go badbecausse our fridge depends on power
  6. My online business can continue to earn me some extra income to fend for my familt
  7. My phone can be reached in case of calls from work

The problem is of course costly to solve and promising steps have been taken. Meanwhile however, many Ghanaians will not get a good night’s sleep. 




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  1. Dumsor actually comes from the Twi words for ‘put off’ (dum) and turn on (sor).