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Police secure restraining order to protect Krobo area PDS staff

BY: Della Russel Ocloo

The Police have secured an order restraining groupings within the Krobo area in the Eastern Region from entering the premises of the Power Distribution Service (PDS) to attack its staff and installations.

This action has been necessitated by the virtual standoff between the company and residents of the area over electricity bills and a supposed indebtedness of the residents to the company which has led to violent clashes.

The PDS, meanwhile, says it will persist with an ongoing revenue mobilisation exercise to retrieve the chunk of the GH¢86 million debt supposedly owed by the residents between 2014 and April 2019.

The General Manager of the Tema Region of PDS, Mr Joseph Mensah Forson, told the media in Tema last Thursday that the company had lost some of its key power transformers in the community as a result of vandalism.

Explaining issues on a matter that has escalated to serious violence, Mr Mensah Forson said in the wake of clashes between the police and members of the Manya Kpogunor community in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality which has led to the death of a 14-year-old boy, the area had become a difficult working zone for the company.

He noted that apart from endangering the lives of officials of the company in the municipality, the community had also tampered with the company’s installations which had caused damages to some transformers.

Revenue mobilisation

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Mr Forson said revenue mobilisation activities within the area particularly from 2017 had been opposed by the United Krobo Foundation (UKF) which had allegedly held rallies at Kpong, Agormanya and Kojonya to incite the inhabitants within the municipality against the mobilisation activities of PDS.

“In most cases, the residents were on the Self Help Electrification Project (SHEP) meters which were distributed by the Ministry of Energy which the former Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had to take steps to regularise to get them onto the main metering system,” he said.

He said owing to the reconfiguration, many of the residents on the SHEP meters had consumptions accumulated up to between six months and one year.

He also said there were calls for those revenues to be scrapped so that PDS would begin a new billing system with them.

“What the people considered as overbilling were actually bills that had accumulated from previous years, and you know, in business, once there are accumulated debts, it is necessary to recover such revenues to enable the company run efficiently,” Mr Forson said.

Supply stabilisation

He explained that PDS undertook a nationwide load management exerciise between April 1-3, 2019 under the instructions of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) which affected some communities in the municipality.

The action, he stated, however did not sink well with members of the affected communities who were of the opinion that the PDS was deliberately punishing them over revenue issues.

The prepayment project, he said, was a national project being undertaken by the PDS, but had been implemented in only five of the seven districts within the Tema Region, leaving out the Krobo and Ada municipality and district respectively.