‘Dumsor’ Stalled ECG’s Debts Collection Exercise – Manager Reveals

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has explained the reason behind the sudden hold back of its revenue mobilization drive last year, after the first exercise recouped some GH¢3.1 billion.

According to the Company, the initiative, has only been suspended and in due course, it will be reintroduced and ensure customers are made to pay their debts.

At a recent event to deepen the relation between the media and industry players in the energy sector, ECG blamed the suspension on the power outages, popularly known as ‘dumsor’ being experienced recently across the country.

Customer Service Manager, Dr Belinda Yeboah Dwamena, said they could not sustain the initiative by invading homes and offices of customers, when the power supply is not stable.

Dr Dwamena assured that, when the power situation stabilizes, officials will go back to the field and demand revenues due them.

Recall that last year, the Electricity Company of Ghana embarked on massive debt collection exercises designed to get many of the company’s staff on the field to get customers to settle their debts.

Under the initiative, the ECG is deplored over 4,000 staff to the premises of customers to retrieve money owe it.

The exercises that targeted at mainly residential and non-residential customers in its operational areas was led by the Managing Director (MD) Samuel Mahama.

After the first exercise which last a month, the company said it recovered some GH¢3.1 billion out of the total GH¢5.7 billion debt owned by customers. The exercise was also used to test a new software application by the company to capture persons who had used power illegally on its database.

In the second exercise which lasted 5-days and ended on June 2, 2023, ECG said it aimed at retrieving over GhC2 billion from indebted customers. They targeted state institutions, including hospitals schools and many more. This even resulted in a fracas between the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, after the Company disconnected a school in the region.

The controversial minister, caused the arrest of ECG’s manager, following which protest and threats were issued.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, May 23, the company indicated that “this massive revenue mobilisation exercise will focus on all categories of customers in arrears including State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), and will be monitored by special teams who will apprehend and prosecute customers who attempt to interfere with the exercise, and/or undertake illegal self-reconnection after disconnection.”

The Company said pursuant to this, “ECG shall operate with a lean staff pool who will provide essential services to customers during the revenue mobilisation period to enable total participation by top management and staff.”

Speaking at a media briefing, the Managing Director of the Company, Samuel Mahama said although the company has achieved significant feat, there was a lot more to be done.

“Out of the GH¢5.7 billion ECG managed to recoup GH¢ 3.1 billion,” he said on Thursday, May 4, 2023.

At the one-day training programme for the media, when asked why ECG, has different meters even in one community, Dr Dwamena, said this was something that existed in the past, but they have put in place measures to correct some of these concerns.

She said the company has commenced changing these multiple meters to have uniformed meters so that buying of credit is done earlier.

Director, Research and Corporate Affairs at the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC), Dr Eric Obutey, in a brief remark, said the Commission was established in October 1997, to regulate the activities of state-owned enterprises like the Volta River Authority (VRA), the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) ECG and others.

PURC, was set up to also set tariffs, look at quality of services and also ensure that customers benefit from complaints and so on. Dr Obutey, said at the time the PURC was established, access to electricity was only 35 percent but now per ECG’s on account, the percentage has increased to over 88 percent adding the Commission played a huge in this feat.

“So PURC has done a lot in the area to make sure that we have stable electricity, to make sure that we have stable quality of service we never used to be like but at least it has improved greatly and it could be better than this.

He said the Commission has two main major tariff windows. The major tariff window is about three years. According to Dr Obutey the last one the Commission did was in September 2022 and it supposed to last till September 2025. In between this, PURC has quarterly review which is done every three months.

He intimated that the Commission increases or decreases tariffs and when the environment is favourable or not.

Dr Obutey said this year, it had reason to reduce electricity tariff for consumers even though in the past it has been increasing.

He asked the public to bear with the Commission because increments are made only when the four major determinants namely exchange rate, prices of gas, inflation, generation mix, which are not determined by these utility providers, are unfavourable.

“That is not to say that we are always interested in increasing tariffs, no1 Obviously you can see that in the past we have even decreased price by 4.2 percent in the last quarter. So, it is not like we are in the habit of increasing tariffs, no! Whatever advises that we get or whatever indicators that point to the tariff that is the direction it will go. Either it goes up, it comes down or it remains where it is”, he stated.


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