The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has ceased operations in its district office at Somanya in the Eastern Region as part of measures to protect lives of its staff and property.
This means that customers of the power distributor in the Yilo and Manya Krobo municipalities would have to travel to Juapong in the Volta Region to transact business including the payment of bills in its newly commissioned office, effective December 1.
Managing Director (MD) of the company, Kwame Agyemang, says the company decided to relocate to Juapong following what he claims to be a volatile environment created as a result of continuous agitations by some residents of Yilo and Manya Krobo against ECG.
Over the years, residents of the two municipalities have kicked against what they claim to be huge electricity tariffs, accusing the ECG of deliberately attempting to short-change them.
At a press conference recently held in Odumase Krobo, the group said residents would no longer want to be ECG customers.
But the MD, addressing the media in Tema after inaugurating the Juapong office, explained that officers of the company will only operate on faults at Yilo and Lower Manya Krobo under police protection.
“To protect the lives of our staff which we dare not compromise on, we henceforth will operate the district from Juapong office, and going forward, any fault intervention, or any call to correct any anomaly in the system within the Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Krobo communities will be dependent on the availability of Police escort,” he said.
He said the company has been very tolerant and patient with customers of the Krobo district, and especially the United Krobo Foundation over the years, regardless of their attacks.
“The challenges we encountered between 2015 and 2016 were across all ECG operational areas when we were transferring customer data from the old CBIS to the new CMS software.
“We took our time for years up until 2017, to organise help desk clinics, and took each affected customer in the Krobo district through the ECG billing system, reconciled and validated their bills. After the successful exercise, whilst some decided to pay their outstanding bills, this youth group (United Krobo Foundation and others) decided to prevent customers from paying, giving all manner of dubious reasons as already stated.
“This year, to bring a final resolution to the impasse, we decided to ring fence all their debts up to 2017 so that they could pay from 2018 up to
date on their negotiated terms.
“After numerous painstaking stakeholder engagements, when we thought the agreed road map has been accepted by all parties to end the misunderstanding, the youth groups demonstrated and threatened life and property of ECG, to the extent that ECG, and for that matter our staff, cannot undertake their legitimate business peacefully.
“It will be recalled that these same youth groups attacked our district office, our staff, a Police station close to our office including burning of a Police pickup vehicle,” he explained.
According to him, the company will continue to provide all the services the residents require from them.
“Indeed, it is with a heavy heart that we decided to support the position of the Tema region in protecting the precious lives of our employees. As a customer-oriented organization, we will never renege on our mandate to provide safe, quality, and reliable power supply to all customers within our operational areas, thereby assisting in the socio-economic development of our country,” he added.
He says their doors remain open for a return to the area if peace prevails.