Ghana cannot continue to entertain the culture of non-payment of electricity bills by some persons in the country, Energy Minister Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh has said.
To that end, he said, he fully supports the step taken by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to retrieve funds owed the company.
The action of the ECG, he said was part of the overarching effort in ensuring that the company remained viable to deliver efficient service to consumers.
Dr. Prempeh said these when he led the ECG’s revenue protection taskforce to two companies that owed the company various sums of money.
The Minister during these two engagements bemoaned the situation where companies piled up bills for a very long time and refuse to pay.
“As a country we cannot continue to countenance the attitude of non-payment of bills, among other illegalities and expect optimal service delivery” he said.
He continued “the financial capacity of the generator, transmitter and distributor is very much anchored on prompt payment of bills, especially as we work to clamp down on all forms of losses and intra-sector debts. These 3 segments of the power value-chain are symbiotically dependent on each other and therefore we must work together to clamp down on all forms of losses.
The Manhyia South lawmaker said, there is no excuse whatsoever for the non-payment of electricity bills and drew an analogy where one cannot negotiate with OMCs to get fuel into his or her car. “When you need fuel, you cannot but pay to get it, why can’t you do same for the electricity you consume” he quizzed.
The ECG taskforce continue to mount operations to retrieve all debts owed by the company.
The Managing Director of the ECG Samuel Dubik Mahama earlier said that an amount of GHS5.7 billion was owed to the state power distributor.
He assured that the action of the company was going to be intensified to retrieve all these debts.
“Every month we will show up to collect the debts,” he intimated.
Mr Mahama said so far they are able to collect between 40 to 50 Million Cedis daily since the exercise started.
“I can each day 40 to 50 million cedis everyday, we are expecting it to go up,” he said.
The task force earlier, Monday, March 20, visited institutions such as Parliament, the Ghana Airport Company Limited (GACL) and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) as part of the debt recovery.
Speaking to journalists, the External Communications Manager of ECG, Laila Abubakar said “The national task force is the one that is in charge of the state-owned enterprises, the ministries, departments and agencies and so we have been going with them, we visited Parliament House, they were owing about a GHS13million they have committed to paying GHS8.5million, we saw evidence of that.
“We went to the Ghana Airport Company, they owed arrears of GHS28million of which they made GHS10 million payment instantly just when we got there so we have given them 48 hours to make the full payment.”
She added “Now, we are here at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, they also owe in arrears of about GHS6 million but they have explained to us that because of the way they run their operations they wouldn’t be able to cough out the money for us instantly, they have had some discussions with the Minister of Information and the National Media Commission together with the Ministry of Energy and there was some sort of agreement last years. However, ECG’s point is that there has not been any movement on the debt that is remaining.
“They have explained to us they have a system and they are going to get some money and pay because they have to find innovative ways of coming up with the money and so we have been giving permission to leave them for now for 48 hours.”
Homes of individuals were not excluded.
Laila Abubakar said “In Tema, we have received photos of disconnections happening in residences, we have received photos of them in some of the industries in Tema and they are being disconnected.
“I am hoping that by the end of the day, we should be able to see a lot of money coming in into our accounts.
“Our system has been digitized in such a way that by the end of the day the Managing Director will be able to see how much we have recouped from this exercise and so we will report in a timely basis how much we are making on a weekly basis.”