Accra charges on generators

Business News of Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Source: B&FT

Generator Sets

Dealers in standby generators in Accra have been inundated with demand as businesses and residences alike seek cover from the intense power cuts the capital has been plunged into over the past three or so weeks.

Intense power cuts in the capital can last anything between 24 to 72 hours — leaving business owners particularly with no choice other than to rely on alternative power rather than the national grid to keep business up and running.

A dealer in generator sets in the Central Business District, told the B&FT demand for relatively smaller (1.5 –4.5 kVH) standby generator sets has gone up considerably.

“Because of the dumsor dumsor, prices of generators have risen remarkably. The ones that typically sold at GH¢400 now sell at GH¢450, and the issue is since most businesses rely on power it makes sense for people to come in for the generators,” he said.

Before the intense power rationing Sylvester, whose shops also deals in water pumps, usually sold a single generator per day or three, on a very good day. But in the past month, sales have been good — selling between five to seven pieces of various generator sets.

His clients, he told the B&FT, include hairdressers, barbers, and dressmakers among other artisans who rely on power to make ends meet.

Another retailer of generator sets, also within the Central Business District (CBD), Yaw Antwi said he has run out of stock and is awaiting supply. Just like Sylvester, he attributed the heavy demand to the ongoing intense power cuts.

“I must say business has not been bad since last year, but the past few weeks have been much better as more people seek their own solution to the numerous power cuts,” he said.

Yaw also retails fairly small generators which run on either petrol or diesel. Aside from artisans who patronise his generators, his clientele include churches with relatively small congregations.

For small and medium-scale enterprises whose energy demands cannot be met by retailers like Yaw and Sylvester, they have had to either turn to G&J or Anointed Electricals who are specialist in power plants of various sizes.

At G&J Technical Services, for instance, Director of Sales and Marketing Mr. James Aidoo said although the company has been dealing with demand for standby power plants, in recent times it has been overwhelmed with demand.

“Before Christmas, we thought we had enough stock to take us into the New Year; but by close of the year we had sold them all.

“We had planned our purchases from our suppliers knowing that by end of January these orders would start flowing. They got finished and we can’t just conjure them into being. We will have to wait for some time to receive supplies,” he added.

Apart from record sales, Mr. Aidoo alluded to the fact that many of G&J’s clients are now calling for servicing of their plants, and this he said can be blamed on overuse of the plants for energy to keep their businesses going.

“Usually, you service your gen-sets after 250hrs or three months, whichever comes first. But with the power crisis, 250hrs is about 10days — and depending on where you are situated, every 15days your gen set will be due for servicing.

“You service it today, take the invoice there — and by the time the company starts processing for payment it is due for another servicing. So your payments gets messed up; he thinks that what he is paying for is the second one you did, forgetting it’s the first one,” he added.

At the head office of Anointed Electricals Engineering Services which deals in power plants, mainly industrial ones, demand is on the ascendancy; and the Assistant Marketing Manager, Mrs. Joyce Nuamah, does not rule out that frequent power cuts could be the reason.

“For the smaller gen-sets, I think the sales have gone up, but for the bigger ones l see it as normal; the rate at which we sell is still normal. At first we sold maybe six a day, but now we are selling about eight,” she said.

The smaller generator set Ms Joyce was referring to is the 5kVA, which is priced at about GH¢7,000.