Power Outage Collapses Cold Stores

Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG)

The load shedding exercise has thrown a number of operators in the cold storage industry out of business.

Players in the business, especially retailers who operate small-scale enterprises, have had to shut down their businesses as a result of the frequent power outage, which has negatively affected their facilities.

A number of business owners, who have been affected, in an interview with BUSINESS GUIDE, called for government’s quick intervention before a total collapse of the industry.

Most operators at the Abobloshi Market, Kaneshie, Dansoman and Nima, all in the Greater Accra region have had to discard an unspecified amount of food items, which went bad.

Frederick Okoe, Managing Director of First Light Cold store, a large facility which supplies fish to most small-scale operators in the Kaneshie and Mataheko Area, said the power outage has been on-going for over eight months.

“You know our business depends on the continuous supply of electricity to enable us store the food items we sell so without electricity we suffer.”

He explained that due to the development, most operators have had to depend on stand-by generators to manage their businesses.

Currently, Mr Okoe, who buys GH¢400 worth of electricity daily to power his cold room, now spends GH¢500 every day on diesel for his generator.

“Diesel is not like electricity. It is very expensive and this has increased the cost of operation,” he said. “This has led to high prices of our items.”

The managing director, who has five employees, said his machines have been gravely affected, adding that it is expensive to get a new one or repair the cold room machines.

Mr Okoe stated, “We are really losing. The outage has destroyed the cold store business. Many people have gone out because they cannot afford to buy generators and fuel.”

He also called on government to consider subsidizing electricity or instituting a flat rate system for them.

“This will help because if electricity bill is low, it will reduce our cost and also stop people from engaging in illegal connections.”

At Agbogbloshie, Florence Naa Atoshie said, “I have lost GH¢12,000 and my three freezers have been damaged. Most of the food items, including fish, chicken parts, sausages, beef and offals of some animals have gone bad.

“I lost everything and now I do not know how I can repay my bankers,” said the mother of three who said her friends would support her to raise capital to purchase a new freezer.

The operator of “In His Time” Cold Store at Anyaa School Junction, a suburb of Accra, Mabel Mako said most people usually purchase her products.

He laid off two of her workers about two months ago, adding, “I leave the generator on even when I close for the day because I do not know when the ECG will switch off the power.”

 By Emelia Ennin Abbey

 

 

 

 

 

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