Major hospitals and other health facilities in the Volta and Oti regions owe the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) about GHC 8.9 million, Mr Michael Buabin, the Acting Volta Regional Manager of the company, has disclosed.
The debt, which spans 2021 till date, has accrued over the years by the Ho Teaching Hospital (HTH), Regional Hospital, Municipal and District hospitals, Community-based Health Planning System (CHPS) Compound, Bungalows, Health Directorate among others.
The debt owed by the Ho Teaching Hospital (HTH), Regional Hospital, municipal and district hospitals, Community-based Health Planning Services (CHPS) compounds, staff bungalows, and the Health Directorate, spans 2021 till date.
The HTH, leading the pact with debts accruing to some GHC 1.4 million, was able to pay GHC40,000 on March 24, after several engagements with the ECG.
The Ho Municipal Hospital, the Peki Government Hospital, and the Keta Municipal Hospital owe GHC 420,000, GHC362,000, and GHC 465,400, respectively.
Mr Buabin confirmed the figure to the Ghana News Agency after engagement with some hospital stakeholders on measures to redeem their indebtedness to the company.
He said the ECG was embarking on a one-month nationwide exercise to retrieve about GHC 5.7 billion from its debtors with about GHC220 million in the Volta and Oti regions alone.
The company has, however, not disconnected any hospital yet, he said.
Mr Philip Agbezudor, the Public Utilities Regulations Commission (PURC) Regional Manager, said hospitals were not exempted from power and water disconnection.
“Legislative Instrument (L.I) 2413, section 37, clearly states that any customer that owes ECG or GWCL has 14 days to settle their arrears,” he said.
However, there was special protection for hospitals due to the nature of their enterprise as essential service providers.
“So after the 14 days moratorium the utility Company are enjoined by law to draw a payment plan with its clients and offer additional 21 days for payment before any disconnection can be occasioned if such individuals or institutions default in the payment plan” he noted.
Mr Agbezudor said the ECG had not adhered to those regulations as it had allowed facilities, including the hospitals, to owe for more than two years.
He urged the health facilities to make conscious efforts to pay their utility bills to enable the company to stay in business.
Mr Benjamin Obeng Antwi, the Volta Regional Public Relations Officer, ECG, in an interview with the GNA, debunked reports that the ECG had disconnected the vaccine storage area of the Keta Municipal Health Directorate.
He said the ECG officials carried out a disconnection of the meter that owed the company but not the entire Health Directorate and appealed to customers to settle their arrears.