Ridiculousness of power outages


Much has been said about this particular topic. We have complained time and time again, but it seems that change will not come soon enough.
Electricity outages seem to have gotten much worse in the last couple of months. In my experience, I have had the power go out everyday in the last month. Now, it seems like there is a ration going on but the government has not made a public announcement. At least, they have not made any announcements that I am aware of, and I have been paying close attention.
We are living in Addis Ababa, the most vibrant city in Africa. Change, transformation, development and growth are visible. It really does seem like the city is growing into a modern and civilized metropolis. But when it comes to the electric corporation (and let’s face it, other sectors as well) there has not been growth or transformation, at least not in the sense that is visible or tangible.
Electricity outage is one of the most annoying things that can happen while living in a big city. Basically everything we do depends on this power. When there is no power, to some extent we have no power; power to work, to communicate or to do other basic tasks.
If we were told that there would be a ration and if we knew exactly when we would lose electricity, then we could work around that specific time and plan accordingly. But currently, that is not the case. We are waiting, hoping and trying to accomplish certain things in time, because we never know when it is going to happen.
I am still not sure of the reasons for the power outages; we have dams that are built and are being built all over the place. And yet, we find ourselves in a situation similar to that of previous years when power outages were as normal as waking up in the morning. What does that say about our “progress”?
Throwing around words like “development” or “growth” is just wrong. These words are powerful only when they are backed up with specific action and concrete evidence. Sure, there is clear evidence that there is indeed development and growth, it can be seen around the city with all the new roads and high rises, but apparently the meanings of these words have not manifested themselves in our own homes. Not having electricity while celebrating the New Year was especially depressing.
The need for electricity in in the country, and its cities, is growing bigger and bigger. Addis Ababa is getting larger and the number of people living here is increasing. This obviously puts pressure on the country’s ability to provide power for all.
We may very well have to wait years, and we will, before we can rely on having a steady and reliable source of power all the time.
Hopefully, the Ethiopian year 2006 and the Power Corp. will show us a bit of grace and work on decreasing the number of power outages.