Volta regional PRO of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), Benjamine Obeng Antwi, has revealed the Company has clamped down on some illegal connections and metering systems in Ketu South.
According to him, since ECG’s operation ‘Zero exercise’ which began on the 11th of July, the team visited the Yilo district to disconnect residents who were identified to be illegally connected to the grid. He indicated that when the team identified these meters, they engaged the customers, and most of them consented to obtaining the “meters from our neighbors in Togo”.
Mr Antwi explained that because these communities are border towns, moving in and out of Togo has become quite simple for them to make such acquisitions.
“So, they said they obtained these meters from Togo and when we asked them, for some, it’s been six months, others one year… Since Monday to yesterday, we have been in the district and so far, over two hundred of such customers have been identified. As we’ve disconnected them, we’ve given them 48 hours to come to our district office in Denu for the supply to be regularized…”Benjamine Obeng Antwi
Mr Antwi recounted that somewhere last two years, the team started an operation in the same enclave around Aflao where these meters were rampant, together with the national security, military and police. He noted that they were able to retrieve over a 1,000 of such meters and surcharged the customers to pay.
Furthermore, he explained that last year as well, the national security together with the border patrol team intercepted about 192 of such meters heading towards Kumasi.
“So, this week, as part of our operation Zero exercise, because these customers are not in our system, we are unable to identify them. So, they have been consuming the power illegally. So, once we decided to do the house-to-house swooping, when we got to that community, then we identified some of these meters. So, some of them have been in existence for more than a year as we speak.”Benjamine Obeng Antwi
Providing meters for residents
Meanwhile, Mr Antwi stated that as part of the operation zero exercise, the volta regional ECG is undertaking some regularization. With this, he revealed that when the team chances on these meters, they disconnect and give customers a 48-hour ultimatum to visit the ECG office to undetake necessary processes.
“So, customers who have visited our ECG offices, what we have done is that we have regularized their supply, we’ve taken note of the consumption of their meters, which we are going to bill them for them to pay. Then again, the meter is not going back into the system, so we are going to give them a bill to apply for a new service overall.
“Some of them need one pole, others need two poles – so they will be paying for that service. Because the issue over there, if you look at the network very well, you could see that the poles are very thin, these poles are more like a time bomb waiting to happen. Should there be any heavy rainfalls in the area, the poles are likely to come down and we experienced a similar issue…”Benjamine Obeng Antwi
Justifying the position of ECG, especially where residents indulge in illegal connections due to ECG’s delays in expediting applications for new meters, Mr Antwi stated that the situation for the Ketu South residents is different, as these communities in question, somewhere last year, had a project worth GHC2 million completed to ensure power supply.
He further indicated that in the Yilo district, when it comes to applying for meters, most customers who apply get their service connection on time.
“So, these communities are people that we’ve been taking care of… So, the customers who have been disconnected now, most of them who visited the office, we’ve taken down their details, locations, Ghana Card details and some of them have started making payments. So, we’ve even gone back to reconnect them. Others have been given flat rates – so once we see that you’re closer to the nearest pole, we connect you directly and give you a flat rate to be paid. That one is much safer than these illegal meters they are using…”Benjamine Obeng Antwi