The Volta Region Revenue Taskforce of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), in a clampdown exercise has recouped more than GHC1.5 million to the Company.
The money was accrued from clients in arrears and those engaged in illegal power theft through surcharges.
The exercise, which begun early this year, in its catchment areas across Volta and Oti Regions took the operation to households, hostels, hotels, cold stores, pubs, restaurants and government institutions, who owed the company to comply with settlement of debts or power terminated.
The task force has visited customers in Ho, Denu, Sogakope and Kpando Districts and are set to visit about 100 debtors to ensure they settle their debts.
Mr Emmanuel Lumor, the Volta Regional General Manager of ECG, speaking to the media, said the directorates are replicating “the inauguration of the national taskforce by the Energy Minister Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, to help the Company retrieve monies owed it by some customers and to curb the menace of illegal connection.”
He said the Revenue Taskforce empowered by LI 2413, allows the Company to disconnect clients who refuse to pay their bills within 14 days after receiving the bill.
He added that the taskforce has also served some institutions disconnection notices in accordance with LI 2413, giving them three days to settle their debt or face disconnection.
The General Manager said two such tertiary institutions responded with dispatch to settle their indebtedness after receiving notices of disconnection and warned clients who remained adamant would be taken off the national grid, until they do the needful.
He said the Company has intensified stakeholder engagements including announcements and radio education to sensitise customers on the need to pay their bills promptly to help ECG serve them better.
Mr Lumor disclosed some illegalities uncovered during the ongoing exercise to include meter bypass, unauthorised and direct connections, and meter tampering.”
He bemoaned how illegal connections by some customers affected the financial strength of the Company, which hinders it from undertaking capital intensive projects that would inure to the benefit of customers.
“As a Company, we have to pay power producers when we purchase power from them to distribute to our cherished customers, hence consuming power illegally prevents the Company from generating money to pay these key players on the electricity supply chain,” he said.
According to Mr Lumor, illegal connection affects the distribution system by overloading transformers, which eventually leads to the breakdown of transformers and causes outages.
He cautioned the public to do the right thing through prompt payment of bills and desist from illegal acts such as meter bypass since it is a criminal and dangerous act, which could cause fire outbreak and the loss of life through electrocution.
Mr Lumor announced that the Company has the authority to prosecute persons engaged in such illegal acts within ECG network by an Executive Instrument (EI) 38 of the Appointment of Public Prosecution Instrument (2010).
He called on the public in general to support the Company in its fight against illegal connection by reporting people who engaged in such acts to the nearest ECG office or call the national taskforce via telephone number 0551444011 and indicated that it comes with a financial reward.
“There is a six per cent commission of any amount we recoup as an incentive for anyone who gave us reliable information to unearth any illegality,” he said.