The government, private institutions and individuals owe the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) about GH¢1.6 billion in electricity bills as of 2014.
The acting Director of Finance of the ECG, Mr Frank Anokwafo, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last Thursday that the government owed GH¢950 million as a result of subsidies and non-payment of electricity bills, while private institutions and individuals owed GH¢610 million.
Mr Anokwafo and the other directors of the ECG were answering queries raised in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Auditor General’s reports at the PAC sitting in Accra.
He was, however, unable to provide the committee with information on the current indebtedness to the ECG and pledged to make the latest figures available later.
Mr Anokwafo said it was difficult for the ECG to recover the debts and added that the best method for debt recovery was disconnection and taking the debtors to court, though the processes were cumbersome.
Mr Anokwafo also said the ECG had appointed private debt collectors to collect its debts. Besides, he added, many ministries, departments and agencies, as well as many district capitals, had been connected to prepaid meters.
PAC on debt recovery
The Vice-Chairman of the PAC, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea, tasked the ECG to take immediate steps to take the debtors to court and recover its money. He said the ECG might be caught by the Limitation Act (which requires cases to be taken to court within six years) if it failed to prosecute its debtors early and its money would be lost permanently.
The 2013 Auditor General’s Report faulted the ECG for experiencing high system losses in its distribution networks.
It said the system losses were as high as 27.44 per cent when power purchased was matched against sales in units and, therefore, asked the ECG to put in place measures to control and reduce the losses.
The acting Managing Director of the ECG, Mr Tetteh Okine, told the PAC that the system losses were due to technical and commercial losses. He indicated that the commercial losses were the result of stealing of power through illegal connections.
According to him, the ECG had introduced a higher voltage distribution system to customers to help reduce technical losses.
He said the introduction of split meters and installation of meters outside fascia boards on premises had helped to reduce the bypassing of meters. Mr Okine stated that the ECG had also introduced an automatic meter reading that ensured the remote monitoring and reading of meters.
He revealed that currently, system losses were 33 per cent.