Fifteen switchgears installed in various communities by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in Accra, have been vandalised and its parts stolen.
According to the Accra East Region ECG General Manager, Bismark Otoo, the vandalisation of the switchgears resulted in the recent occasional power outages in some parts of Accra.
He said the destruction of the switchgears are mostly concentrated in Cantonments, Ridge, Osu, Airport and Dzorwulu vicinities.
Speaking in an interview with Ghanaian Times in Accra, yesterday, Mr Otoo said the perpetrators of the crime targeted the metallic end-covers of the switchgears, thereby exposing the livewire part of the high voltage section.
“Within the past three months, we have observed targeted vandalism of our switchgears which have been installed in areas with transformers.
“Those responsible vandalise our underground cables and remove metallic covers of switchgears. This had increased the rate of unplanned power outages at the affected communities especially when the insulator is exposed,” Mr Otoo indicated.
He said, initial investigations by the company, revealed that scrap dealers were responsible for the theft of the metallic end-cover, although no arrest had been made so far.
Mr Otoo said the ECG incurred GH¢150,000 cost from the repair of the switchgears, adding that activities of thieves exposed livewires that threatened public safety, especially residential facilities sited close to the installation.
He noted that repair works on vandalised switchgears was more challenging due to the lack of spare parts, and that the ECG was compelled to use spare parts of retired switchgears when the need arouse.
Mr Otoo said one of the affected switchgears sited within the Airport City enclave exploded after the insulator was exposed, saying that similar explosions could be recorded at other switchgears.
The Accra East Regional ECG Office, he stated, had reported the development to the police and was currently assisting in investigations.
Mr Otoo said that the company would fence all other switchgears within its jurisdiction as the long term intervention to the menace.
In the meantime, he said the company had tasked all its field operatives to look out for suspicious activities close to switchgear sites and report same to the office.
Mr Otoo called on the public to support the ECG by reporting unscrupulous activities near switchgears to the police.
“We need your help to be able to deal with this new theft cases. Exposed switchgears are likely to lead to persistent power outages and poses a great danger to your life as well.
“The real cost is the losses incurred by the ECG because we are unable to supply already generated power due to a faulty switchgear. Let’s all work together in fighting this problem,” he said.
Switchgears, which are installed close to transformers, are designed to protect equipment connected to power supply from the threat of electrical overload.
It is a centralised collection of circuit breakers, fuses and switches (circuit protection devices) that function to protect, control and isolate electrical equipment.