An official disconnecting a private residence at Dambai
An official disconnecting a private residence at Dambai

Volta/Oti ECG commends 5 institutions for consistent payment

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in the Volta/Oti Region has commended five institutions in the Volta Region for staying committed in honouring their bill payment obligations. 

Advertisement

The five, the Volta Regional Office of the National Communications Authority, Ghana Commercial Bank, Stevens Hotel, Skyplus Hotel in Ho and Regency Salt in Denu, have never owed the power distributor and have promptly made payment.

The company made the commendation following its month-long nationwide revenue mobilisation exercise in a bid to retrieve GH¢5.7 billion from its debtors, which includes GH¢219 million from the Volta Region.

The Finance Manager of Regency Salt, Kiran-Kumar, told the Daily Graphic that prompt and regular payment of bills had always been a priority for the company since its productiveness depended on constant electricity supply.

“We are in business and we need the electricity to operate so once we have consumed and a bill has come to us from ECG, we have the obligation to pay,” he said.

He added, “our relationship with ECG has been cordial since we began operating in the Volta Region in 2015.”

Month-long exercise

The exercise which began on March 20, 2023, took place simultaneously across all 11 operational districts in the Volta and Oti regions, including Denu, Sogakope, Akatsi, Keta, Ho, Kpeve, Kpando, Hohoe, Jasikan, Nkwanta and Dambai. 

The exercise saw ECG Officials visit some state institutions, hotels, tertiary institutions and health facilities, among others, which owed the company for electricity consumed, with some debtors being disconnected from the national grid.

The power distributor last Thursday concluded its exercise with a total retrieval of GH¢40 million accrued from debtors since it began its aggressive exercise in the region to support the power sector and Ghana’s economy.

Affected customers 

The exercise saw some institutions such as the Bank of Ghana at Hohoe settling their over GH¢61,000 indebtedness to the ECG following a visit to the institution by officials on March 28, 2023.

The Ghana Water Company Limited and the Ho Teaching Hospital also settled part of their arrears, with the former paying “GH¢2 million out of GH¢17.5 million, while the Ho Teaching Hospital paid GH¢90,000 out of GH¢1.4 million, with a monthly commitment of paying  GH¢40,000 to the ECG,” he added.

Some companies such as KFC and Melcom (Aflao Branch) were, however, disconnected before they paid GH¢103,000 and GH¢55,000 respectively. The Ho Airport also paid GH¢100,000 Cedis. The Ho Airport and KFC paid more than what they owed ECG.

Volta Forest Products Limited and Matador Multimedia, two companies in Hohoe, have, nonetheless, been taken off the grid for owing ECG more than GH¢950,000 and GH¢65,000 respectively.

MMDAs, tertiary institutions 

Meanwhile, the Afadzato South, Adaklu and the Agortime Ziope district assemblies all settled a sum of GH¢33,000 out of GH¢38,000 owed the power distributor with outstanding amounts of GH¢611, GH¢2500 and GH¢2000 respectively remaining to be settled.

The South Dayi, Ho West and Akatsi South district assemblies also made payments of GH¢ 24,000 out of GH¢31,500, GH¢25,000 out of GH¢41,000 and GH¢50,000 out of GH¢70,000 respectively.

Tertiary institutions such as the University of Health and Allied Sciences also settled its GH¢1.6 million debt, while the Ho Technical University also settled its indebtedness of GH¢800,000.

Dambai mass disconnections 

In the Dambai District, some 200 customers were disconnected for owing about GH¢780,000. The ECG, however, recouped more than GH¢1.2 million.

One such customer, David Ntoso, 34, who operated a woodshop at Katanga, was taken off the grid for his inability to settle a debt of GH¢1,600. Mr Ntoso who owns various woodwork machines, said since commencing operations in 2016, he had rarely been late in paying his bill.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, he indicated that even though his debt with ECG had been cleared, his economic situation had worsened, due to low patronage, and unpaid work, adding that as a result he was now barely able to pay his nine workers, all of whom had families to feed. 

Addressing misconceptions

Meanwhile, the acting General Manager for ECG in the Volta Region, Michael Buabin, indicated that false impressions created about the company embarking on a mass disconnection exercise rather than a revenue mobilisation exercise in Volta and Oti regions was unfortunate, since the company always made it a priority to engage customers in order to reach a consensus.

Advertisement

“We don’t take delight in disconnecting customers but we also want to collect the needed revenue so when we engage you and there’s a positive feedback, we don’t take you off the national grid but once you default or fail to present a positive solution, disconnection which is always the last resort will be done,” he told the Daily Graphic.

Describing the exercise as successful due to the cooperation of consumers, he said, “Before the exercise began, our revenue collection in the region was good but this exercise has doubled our revenue collection. For example, we collected almost GH¢12 million in the first week of this exercise and collected almost GH¢40 million from March 20 to April 20, which is twice our collection before the exercise.” 

Lessons learnt

The ECG earlier faced criticism about its seeming inaction which had led to huge debts owed it. Mr Buabin, however, said the company had learnt its lesson and reformed.

“We have learnt lessons from this exercise and we hope our customers will assist us to prevent huge debts in the future. This exercise will be sustained by visiting our customers the last week of every month and also regular phone calls will be made to high debtors to enable them pay their bills regularly,” he said.

Advertisement

“We want to make Volta Region the hub of excellent customer service through the provision of stable power supply and quality services, hence the need to complete existing projects and initiate new ones.

“In a bid to improve power supply in the region, the company in 2022 installed a 20MVA transformer at the Kpando Bulk Supply Point and will commence the construction of a substation at Sokode near Ho.

“The company has also completed a customer service centre at Dambai and a Revenue Collection Point at Kpando to make services easily accessible for customers, with similar infrastructure for Anloga, Golo-Kwati, New Ayoma and Kpetoe in the pipeline, Mr Buabin said.

Illegal connections

The company during the exercise also apprehended some people engaged in illegal connection and recovered GH¢66,000 from them. The culprits have been subsequently handed over to the police for further action.

Advertisement

“We focused a lot on revenue collection during the exercise but as our Managing Director has stated, the next group of people that we are about to target is illegal connections. It is going to be the biggest thing that we are going to do. 

“Anybody who knows or who believes their meter has been tampered with or there’s a bypass should note that the utility court is being set up and they are going to be charged with stealing,” he stated.

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...

0
Shares