Ghana’s power suppliers and their accountability

Oct 13, 2005 02:00 AM

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has over the past few years in particular, been lamenting their need for more financing to improve on their efficiency. At the same time that they are crying out for this support, which they expect to come either from government or increased tariffs, they have acknowledged leakages in their operations, through what they have termed, illegal connections.
It was heart-warming, hearing the Minister of Energy, Prof. Mike Oquaye tell the ECG management as it is, when it raised the issue of additional funding. It does not take any imagination to see very many illegal connections in the cities. One simple way by which even the untrained eye can identify that, is judging by the levels cables drawing power from main electricity poles hang to one or two houses from where at times, a whole neighbourhood was wired.

The ECG cannot be blameless when it comes to identifying the causes of “illegal connections.” Some of the company's members of staff are known to be the main architects of these connections. ECG though has been loud on advertising and warning the public against this phenomenon has not practically taken any concrete measures to stem the continued occurrence of the problem.
The ECG ought to be up and doing, embarking on unannounced audit of, particularly, all lighted spots, in the nights, using their own maps of connected areas, to identify, which had been legitimately or illegitimately done.

Recently, when there was a major national power outage, the Volta River Authority (VRA), the bulk supplier of power to ECG complained of a possible overload on their plants, leading to an automatic shutdown.
This should demonstrate to us the chaos the criminal conduct of a few greedy and unpatriotic citizens could be plunging the whole nation into. Either way one looked at it, since both ECG and VRA have the logistics for determining whether the power they put out there was being accounted for or not, they should be in a position to identify the outlets of the leakages that translate into the losses they complain about.

Unfortunately, when such serious incidents such as power outage of this magnitude occur, we do not pause to count the cost. We behave as if nothing happened, whereas in reality, such incidents, some of which are preventable, could have resulted in the loss of lives and property.
Elsewhere, when through unannounced power outages, people's gadgets get damaged, the power suppliers do not just play the ostrich, because when found to be negligent, they pay dearly for it.

Unfortunately, over here, it remains business as usual and citizens only have to pray that it never happened again.
The Chronicle thinks the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) is not up to its task if it looks on while such a vital utility service provider like the ECG gets away with such negligent attitude.

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle
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