MINISTER OF Energy, Emmanuel Boakye Ayarko, has expressed shock at the growing debt stock of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) which appears to be worsening by the day due to its faulty metering system and avoidable employee recklessness.
Speaking to a group of journalists and officials of Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) after the inauguration of a 7-member ECG PSP Stakeholders’ Committee in Accra, the minister said he was shocked that ECG has GH¢130 million a week in receivable, but only collects GH¢50 million. “What happens to the balance? You look at their inventory and they have 20 years’ supply of spares. You have locked up that money in spares that would be obsolete,” he wondered.
Monthly Debt Piling
Mr Agyarko noted, “ECG’s debt accumulation on a monthly basis is GH¢66 million. Every month, they add GH¢66 million to their cost. And if this happens in the next five years, what prevents the EOCO from laying you off?”
Failure To Account For Power
“How is it that the power transmitted to EC, they cannot account for it over 20 years? People try to blame this small power theft, illegal power connection. That’s not where it is. There’s something called district boundary metering. We don’t do it. So a district like Somanya does not know how much power has been given to it. The grid power system also does not know how much power it has given to Somanya and how much has been paid. It is like say, I supplied petrol to a petrol station, but I don’t know how much petrol I put in the underground tank. So the station manager can come and say ‘Oh here’s GH¢100. That’s all you brought,’ without you the supplier knowing how much you put in their tank. So unless we address this district boundary metering, that power loss will not go down. And each percentage of power lost is 60 million cedis. So you are losing 21 percent from start. And then the balance of 70 that you get, you only collect half of the money,” the minister lamented.
US Embassy Demands Bills
“I had a discussion with the managing director. American Embassy has 160 facilities in Ghana. They have not been billed for two years. So they went to ECG and said ‘look, we owe you money. Bring us a bill. Bring us pre-paid meters. We will use it for one year, and whenever we use, we will multiply it by 3 and give it to you.’ Up to now, the ECG hasn’t been able to do that,” he noted.
MTN Too Calls For Bill
According to Mr Boakye Agyarko, “MTN called me and said ‘we owe ECG GH¢35 million. We are trying to pay. We are waiting for wire instructions. And we’ve been waiting for one month. So I went to ECG and I asked them. What’s going on? And they said ‘Oh the person who is supposed to issue the instructions is gone on leave’….And they have as many as 6500 staff and still growing.”
Negative Networking Capital
Indicating that ECG’s networking capital was minus 2 billion cedis, he said, “We have by act of omission or commission, run ECG down. It has to be picked up from the floor.
“I live in Krobo Odumase, there are places there where ECG billed an electrician with just a bulb in his kiosk for GH¢4,000 a month. And the impudence on the part of ECG is they want to go and disconnect that person. ECG has to change.”
Experts believe that the resistance being put up by some organizations to government’s privatization moves of the ECG is just a ploy to cover up the company’s deep sores and its current helpless state.