Customers of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in the Krobo District have started the usage of prepaid meters.
The customers have also been assured by the ECG that the payment of their old debts from 2018 to 2021 would be spread over five years, instead of two years as agreed earlier, for their convenience.
The company also told the customers that the old debt was not put on the prepaid meters, as individual customers would have to negotiate with the company for the payment of their old debts conveniently.
The General Manager of ECG for the Tema Region, Emmanuel Akini, gave the assurance at a stakeholders’ engagement at Odumase-Krobo last Thursday, to inform customers officially of the start of installation of the prepaid meters in the Krobo District of the company, as part of their community engagement.
The meeting, which was attended by chiefs, assembly members, opinion leaders and identifiable groups from both Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Krobo municipalities in the Eastern Region, was held following disagreements over the payment of electricity bills, which had culminated in alleged attacks on staff of ECG and the subsequent withdrawal of services from the areas.
According to the General Manager of the Tema region of the company, the installation of prepaid meters in any district in the country went with the payment of old debts put on the prepaid meters.
He, however, stressed that the issue of the Krobo District of the company was given special consideration by stakeholders including the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) and National Security.
Mr Akini said since the company started the installation in areas both in Lower Manya Krobo and Yilo Krobo, the company had not encountered any challenge from the customers and expressed the hope that the public education with relevant stakeholders as well as installation from community to community would continue, until the whole Krobo District of the company was covered.
“ECG is a human institution and, therefore, anybody who has an issue regarding the payment of old debt from 2018 to 2021 should boldly approach us in our office for convenient negotiation and payment, which has not been put on the prepaid meters we are installing,” Mr Akini added.
Two staff of National Security, Col. Tim Ba-Taa- Banah and Gabriel Nikoi, said their institution took serious view of the impasse between the ECG and customers in the Krobo District and were, therefore, happy about how the issue was being resolved.
Col. Ba-Ta-Banah said the impasse needed to be resolved once and for all in the interest of development and, therefore, there was no need for continued engagements, which he considered to be a waste of time as the prepaid meters, which were the solution to the issue, were being installed.
“We as National Security subscribe to the entire progress of the situation to solve the problem. We are not going to support ECG to cheat the Krobo District customers because our image and integrity as a National Security institution is at stake. We shall monitor and supervise the work of ECG to ensure mutual benefit for both the company and the Krobo District customers,” he assured.
A representative of PURC, Leon Acquaye, said as a regulator of ECG, it was happy with the agreement reached so far, especially with the spreading of the old debt to five years in order to cushion customers to pay conveniently.
“We, as regulator and a referee are following every activity of the company to ensure it serves the interest of both the company and the customers,” he indicated.
The Public Relations Officer of the Manya Krobo Traditional Council, Nene Asada Ahor, who chaired the event, assured that nobody in the Krobo District would prevent the company from the installation of the prepaid meters since it was in their own interest.
Four prepaid meter users from both Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Krobo, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity, testified that the usage of the prepaid meters was even better than the postpaid because they monitored their own consumption and bought credit as and when they saw the need, unlike the estimated bills they used to have when they were using the postpaid meters.