File photo: Soldiers

A contingent of 50 military personnel has been deployed to the Krobo area to provide security to the staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as it replaces all postpaid meters with prepaid meters beginning today June 14, 2022.

The military will be assisted by National Security and the Police.

Customers who still insist on rejecting prepaid meters will be taken off the national grid.

The Municipal Chief Executive for Yilo Krobo, Eric Tetteh is urging all residents to cooperate with the ECG staff.

Speaking to the media in Koforidua on the sidelines of a familiarisation visit by the management of ECG led by the new Managing Director, Samuel Dubik Masubir Mahama, the Director of Customer Service, Anokye Abebreseh said, intensive engagements have been done with all stakeholders in the Krobo area hence expecting maximum cooperation.

“Just last week we met, a tripartite kind of a committee comprising of Electricity company, National Security and United Krobo Foundation. We met and the agreement is that ECG going to install prepaid meters starting from tomorrow for which all of us have agreed .so come tomorrow (Tuesday) we are going to deploy our men to the field to start the installation of prepayment meters.

“We have done a lot of stakeholder engagements so at least for now calm is prevailing so come tomorrow 14th of June we are going to start deployment of prepayment meters,” said Anokye Abebreseh

The installation of prepaid meters comes after years of an impasse between Krobo residents and ECG which escalated into devastating attacks on the ECG office in Somanya and led to a deadly clash with police.

The ECG office has since been shut down.

Residents vowed to resist the installation of Prepaid meters while calling on ECG to write off debts owed by customers in Krobo land from 2018 to 2021.

Answering questions on the controversy of non-payment of electricity bills by residents, Mr Abebreseh stressed that ECG has ringfenced all arrears of customers in the Krobo area from the period between 2014 and 2017 but arrears between 2018 to date must be paid by customers within 5 years however, the debt will not be transferred into the prepaid meters to be installed.

“We made it clear that the period between 2014 and 2017 has been ringfenced so that the customers, for now, will not border themselves about their amount but then the period between 2018 to date the customers are supposed to pay but for goodwill purposes, we’ve asked that we are not going to put the debt on the new prepayment meters.

“Normally the practice is that when you put prepayment meter there you put the debt on the post-paid meter on the prepaid meter so that we will recover whatever debt but in this case we said from 2018 to date we are not going to put it there, and that we will meet customers individually and determine how they should pay the debt.”

The Minister of Energy Matthew Opoku Prempeh revealed a month ago during the ministry’s ‘meet the press’ briefing in Accra that, Technical and commercial losses of about GH¢3.2billion are threatening the future of state-owned power distributor, ECG.

The company’s losses in then exchange terms amounts was US$400million accumulated from power theft, malfunctioning metres, obsolete infrastructure, and ineffective revenue collection, among others.

The minister lamented: “Which company can be viable if it loses that amount of money? Power theft – those who are stealing power, those whose metres are not working and those who don’t have metres but have electricity – is costing ECG nearly GH¢3.2billion,”

Losses from the technical and commercial factors stood at GH¢1.8billion, and GH¢1.5billion respectively in 2021, from GH¢1.4billion, and GH¢1.5billion respectively in 2020.

Technical and commercial losses in the last five years (2017 to 2021) reached GH¢8.9billion)

ECG is therefore on a serious drive to reduce commercial losses in the system