ECG Inefficiency Worsens; US Embassy, Others Enjoy Electricity Supply without Billing

Who would believe that the ECG inefficiency has gone as bad as this? Could you imagine that in the midst of all the persistent indebtedness of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), some individuals, businesses and institutions in the country have been enjoying electric power supply free of charge?

Moreover, while majority of people in Ghana are lamenting high electricity tariffs, some others say they go about begging ECG to serve them bills. For instance, the American Embassy say they have been pursuing the ECG to issue them bills for two years now!

This revelation is coming after comments by Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko about the balance sheet of ECG which reveal that many electric power users have not been paying their electricity bills. The US embassy, in a bid to exonerate itself, took to twitter to deny claims that they have refused to pay their electricity bills.

The U.S. Embassy in Ghana has not refused to pay any electricity bills. We have been asking for official bills for embassy-managed facilities for more than 2 years so we can issue correct payments. The embassy has set aside funds for electricity, and we will continue to work with the ECG to get correct bills so we can pay,” the embassy pointed out.

Meanwhile, the concerned staff at the Electricity Company of Ghana reported that the US Embassy is not owing then bills. This was in their response to a letter from the Minister of Power, Boakye Kyeremanten Agyarko, in which he stated that the American Embassy’s 160 facilities across the country has not been billed for two years, and has since been requesting for prepaid meters.

According to the Power Minister, the Managing Director of the embassy said they had told the ECG about their not paying bills for some two years. They had also asked for pre-paid meters which they intend to use for one year and then multiply the cost by three and pay.

I had a discussion with the managing director. American Embassy has 160 facilities in Ghana. They have not been billed for two years. So they went to ECG and said ‘look, we owe you money. Bring us a bill. Bring us pre-paid meters. We will use it for one year, and whenever we use, we will multiply it by 3 and give it to you.’ Up to now, the ECG hasn’t been able to do that, he told journalists.

Heightening ECG Inefficiency

The issue of inefficiency at the Electricity Company of Ghana is no news at all. Prominent on the list of irregularities bedeviling the electric power providing company is the issue of incorrect billing, with customers either being over or undercharged.

See: Italian Restaurant Forced To ‘Leave’ Ghana Due To High Electricity Bills

Boakye Agyarko, the Minister of Power under the new Akufo-Addo government has come to expose more of the ECG inefficiency in recent times; ranging from unreasonable procurement of equipment, down to failure to account for both received and supplied power. From his findings, it has been proven that aside erroneous billing, some customers are not even being billed at all.

Speaking to a group of journalists and officials of Millennium Development Authority (MiDA), after the inauguration of a 7-member ECG PSP Stakeholders’ Committee in Accra, the minister expressed total shock over the fact that the ECG barely gather up to half the amount they are supposed to collect from power users across the country.

According to Mr. Agyarko,  ECG has GH¢130 million a week in receivable, but only collects GH¢50 million. He also revealed that the company have locked up some huge sums of money in spare parts meant for a period of 20 years, which would eventually become obsolete before they are all put to use.

Continuing, the Power Minister noted that the electricity company has not been accounting for both the power they receive and the ones they supply across the country for over 20 years; a condition that accumulates the company’s debt by GH¢66 million on a monthly basis. Mr. Agyarko pointed out that this lapse is the ECG’s major source of losses, and not the alleged power theft and illegal power connections.

…There’s something called district boundary metering. We don’t do it. So a district like Somanya does not know how much power has been given to it. The grid power system also does not know how much power it has given to Somanya and how much has been paid, the minister lamented.

You will also be shocked to learn that apart from the US Embassy, MTN has also indicated that they owe GH¢35 million worth of electricity bills, and has not been able to pay for a reason which has been blamed on the ECG inefficiency.

MTN called me and said ‘we owe ECG GH¢35 million. We are trying to pay. We are waiting for wire instructions. And we’ve been waiting for one month’. So I went to ECG and I asked them. What’s going on? And they said ‘Oh the person who is supposed to issue the instructions is gone on leave’….And they have as many as 6500 staff and still growing. – Mr. Agyarko mused.

You see the height of the ECG inefficiency?

These discoveries are quite very unfortunate for a company that has been struggling under the load of heavy debts for many years now; a situation that has left the government with no better option than to transfer the company to private ownership. For them, this is the only way to end the worsening ECG inefficiency.

But many Ghanaians are yet to agree with the government.