The Krobo District branch of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has uncovered fake meters and direct power connections in their system which was causing huge loss of revenue to the company.
A special meter monitoring exercise conducted by the company on Thursday, January 5, 2023, in collaboration with the Ghana Armed Forces and the Ghana Police Service, led to the arrest of some customers, who were committing power stealing offence.
The team, led by the Krobo District Technical Officer (DTO), Edward Annan, visited both the Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Krobo municipalities, including Sawer at Somanya, Atua, Odumase, Odumase-Korletsom, Agomanya, Agomanya Ablotsi, Hwekper, Kordukpinya and Manam, among others, in the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality.
The team discovered that though ECG had installed their prepaid meters for the customers in an exercise conducted last year, some of the customers, with the assistance of alleged local electricians in the two municipalities, had installed postpaid meters again into the system in order to avoid the buying of prepaid credit.
It was also discovered that some customers in Lower Manya Krobo, especially where people with serious offences were arrested, had replaced the ECG installed prepaid meters with fake meters allegedly distributed by the assembly members of the Lower Manya Krobo Municipality, at a fee of between GH¢500 and GH¢700.
It was also discovered that some of the customers with the connivance of the alleged local electricians bypassed the meter and connected directly from the main supply to cheat and avoid buying of prepaid credit.
According to Mr Annan, the most serious offence was that the customers who were using the fake meters scanned the ECG logo and put it on the fake meters to look like the real ECG meters.
In August last year, ECG and its customers in the Krobo area had a problem with the payment of bills for postpaid meters, which led to power outage for almost five weeks. That incident led to the installation of prepaid meters in the area.
At the end of the exercise, 10 customers with very serious offences were arrested by the police to appear before court, while 75 were totally disconnected and retired from the meters.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic at the end of the exercise, the acting Manager of ECG for the Krobo District, Christopher Apawu, said the installation of prepaid meters was a nationwide exercise that the company had embarked on, not only in the Krobo District and, therefore, stressed the need for customers to cooperate with the company for quality service delivery.
“We expect our customers to use the prepaid meters we have installed for them and not the postpaid that we took away from the system as well as the fake ones some of them are currently using,” Mr Apawu said.
The Public Relations Officer of ECG, Tema Region, Mary Sakyiwaa Mensah, said the meter monitoring exercise, which is a normal routine for the company, would continue.
She advised customers in the Krobo area who would like to enjoy continuous power supply to avoid power theft, as they would be disconnected and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others. Therefore, the culprits who were arrested in Lower Manya Krobo would be made to face the law.
When the Daily Graphic spoke with the Presiding Member of the Lower Manya Krobo Municipal Assembly, Wilfred Ayerh Kofi Zhando Tetteh, who doubles as the Assembly Member for the Odumase North Electoral Area, he denied the allegation that assembly members gave out the meters.
He explained that 500 meters were given to the assembly by the Ministry of Energy, out of which 80 were installed by a contractor.
He said ECG wanted the installation to pass through due process such as registration of clients and mapping of facilities where the meters were installed. Mr Tetteh said because of that the rest of the meters were given to ECG and they had not yet been installed.
“As a Presiding Member of the assembly, I want to challenge any client of ECG who says that he/she was given any meter by an assembly member to expose the one to be arrested. Per what I know as PM, it is never true that assembly members gave out meters to the ECG clients,” Mr Tetteh emphasised.