The story of Delestron

In the midst of yesterday’s major power outage in Abidjan, a new name was trending on Twitter: Delestron.

The cartoon character (named after delestage, rolling blackout) was born from the population frustation after the recent power outages and was create by Charles Dadié, also know as Chaba (who previously drew for Yafohi).

“Delestron is a character that hides, and likes the dark. It’s a character that goes around neighborhoods cutting off electricity supply, and then quickly disappears. That’s a little bit how Delestron works, he’s a little spooky and a fanatic,” he said.

The cartoon character has become a hit on social media websites, where many say it reflects a growing concern among the Ivorians that these cuts are coming more frequently and could even increase in the country’s commercial capital.

Dadie adds that although Delestron is a light way of looking at the problem, he hopes that its popularity will push the government and the authorities into addressing the blackouts. Source

And just in case you are wondering:

rolling blackout, also referred to as load shedding, is an intentionally engineered electrical power shutdown where electricity delivery is stopped over different parts of the distribution region. Rolling blackouts are a last-resort measure used by an electric utility company to avoid a total blackout of the power system. They are a type of demand response for a situation where the demand for electricity exceeds the power supply capability of the network. Rolling blackouts generally result from two causes: insufficient generation capacity or inadequate transmission infrastructure to deliver sufficient power to the area where it is needed.

Rolling blackouts are a common or even a normal daily event in many developing countries where electricity generation capacity is underfunded or infrastructure is poorly managed. Rolling blackouts in developed countries are rare because demand is accurately forecasted, adequate infrastructure investment is scheduled and networks are well managed; such events are considered an unacceptable failure of planning and can cause significant political damage to responsible governments.

Let’s hope that social media highlights the discontent created by the outages, and that strong measures are taken to avoid further disruptions.

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