ECG Tours Industrial Areas To Inspect Metres

John Jinapor

John Jinapor

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has begun an exercise which is likely to see it rake in the expected revenue to facilitate its operations.

The company’s undertaking is in agreement with those of other institutions within the power sector, which have formed a taskforce to ensure that their customers do not engage in fraudulent use of power. This, they would do, to make sure the meters read flawlessly.

The ECG had recorded instances where some power consumers either undertook illegal connections or tampered with the meters to cause reductions in the amount expected to be paid to the country’s power distributor. While some of these identified persons were put before the courts and made to pay huge sums of money to the state, others were made to serve prison sentences as punishment for their dishonesty.

A special court, which sits on Saturdays, has been assigned for such prosecutions. Yesterday, the taskforce took some companies within the North Industrial Area by surprise. The Deputy Minister for Power, John Abdulai Jinapor, led the group on the fact finding mission as they wanted to know if they were paying the right amount for the power they consumed.

The tour took some staff of both the ECG and the Ministry of Power and journalists from selected media organisations to Latex Foam, Dannex Ghana Limited and Fan Milk.

At the first point of call, Latex Foam, owners of the facility got offended at the unannounced visit, coupled with the fact that their premises was being captured by the cameras. They were full of rage, even when the minister had come in to explain the purpose of the stopover.

Tempers were calmed after some 15 minutes, only for the keys to the metering system, which had been securely locked, to be far from reach. The lock had to be forced open, in order to permit entry. The technical team, led by the acting Manager of Technical Investigations, Ishmael Oku, found the integrity of the meter perfect, after they had subjected it to an audit procedure for close to 15 minutes.

The story was no different at Dannex and Fan Milk, which also boasted of meters which had not been tampered with. At Fan Milk for instance, initially, there was some level of resistance on the part of the security, who claimed not to have been instructed by their employers to allow the team in.

However, when the sector minister introduced himself, the group was allowed in, but this was not accompanied by keeping them waiting in the open compound of the company for the consent of the Human Resource Manager to be sought. There too, after the requisite checks had been done, the technical investigations manager and his team were convinced their system was intact.

Briefing the media after the exercise, Mr. Jinapor said the major challenge facing his ministry was that of finance and that they were on that special unannounced assignment to block the leakages that accounted for their loss in revenue.

“…We continue to witness energy theft in the power sector, resulting in loss of revenue…all those in the sector have formed a taskforce and being the leader of the ministry, I decided to be part of the exercise to make people aware that we are serious,” he said.

Stressing that all monies owed by their consumers would certainly be collected, he said hotels, night clubs, ministries and their agencies would be the target. He added that all ministries would be made to pay for the power they consume, saying “a section of the society should not be made to pay while others are not.”

In a related development, the GNA reports that, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) has issued an order to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to correct the metering and billing anomalies resulting from implementation of the 2015 Major Tariff Increase.

A statement from the PURC signed by Dr. Simons Akorli, Director, Regulatory Economics and Research reiterated that the percentage increase across board for all categories of electricity consumers as announced by the Commission is 59.2 per cent.

It said the Commission would publish for the benefit of electricity consumers and the public, the electricity tariffs as gazetted, effective December 14, 2015 and published in The Ghana Gazette of December 11, 2015 as well as the tariffs published in Ghana Gazette of July 8, 2015.

The statement said the ECG had also been directed to develop and implement detailed Communication Plan for engaging the public on the impact of the December, 2015 tariffs and measures put in place to resolve implementation challenges arising from the tariffs.

“The PURC wishes to reassure all consumers that the Commission is monitoring all the feedback arising from the recent tariff increases and will not relent in ensuring that the ECG discharges its obligations to consumers,” it added.

By Pascal Kafu Abotsi
([email protected])

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