Deal With Power 'Stealers' In Ghana

by 29/09/2012 14:47:00 0 comments 900 Views

Ghana is suffering from a power deficit for its domestic and industrial endeavours. Presently, parts of the Greater Accra Region are experiencing regular power outages because of the inability of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) to provide the required power to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

We are told that an accident on the pipeline of the West Africa Gas Company has affected gas supply to the country, hence the load-shedding exercise in Accra and other parts of the country.

Over the last decade or so, Ghana has experienced power outages of various forms, sometimes affecting productivity to a very large extent. There was even a period when the load-shedding exercise was so intense that manufacturing plants in the country operated at half capacity, shut down completely or had to incur additional cost by purchasing generating sets.

The irony of our present circumstance is the fact that once upon a time, Ghana had power in excess that it supplied to Cote d’Ivoire, Togo and Benin. There was even a plan to extend power to Burkina Faso, and that explains why the government extended power from the Akosombo grid to the three northern regions.

The late President Kwame Nkrumah built the Akosombo Dam, with some difficulty in funding, in order to provide the needed power for his industrialisation plan. In the 1970s, the Kpong Dam was added.

Our governments have tried to add onto these facilities but the additions were not significant to address the generation gap occasioned by increasing population and industrial activities. Fortunately, the Kufuor administration secured funding from the Chinese government to undertake the Bui Dam, a project that will make a significant addition to our power generation mix.

Private power producers such as the Asogli-Sino Plant have also contributed to the generation mix, except that they are yet to attain the situation where a technical challenge on any one of the plants will not affect power supply to any part of the country.

It is sad that while we struggle to provide adequate power for the country, some unscrupulous individuals engage in illegal power connection to their residences and industrial concerns. Some of these negative activities are carried out with the active participation of officials of the ECG.

It is an open secret that this same selfish characters in our midst have managed to manipulate the prepaid meters to dodge the payment of electricity bills. No doubt, it is estimated that more than 20 per cent of power generated in the country in lost through illegal connections.

It is against this backdrop that the Daily Graphic welcomes the introduction of an automatic meter reading (AMR) product by the ECG to improve the credibility of billing data in order to reduce human errors.

It is our hope that this system will work to reduce the tendency of consumers and some officials of the ECG to cheat. Consumers owe the ECG millions of cedis in utility bills, yet we complain about poor services by the utility providers.

The Daily Graphic thinks that the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) equally has a responsibility to ensure that the utility companies do not only collect bills from consumers but also make sure that they provide efficient services to consumers.

The last time the country experienced a nation-wide blackout, the PURC promised to investigate the matter and take action against those whose lack of initiative caused the entire nation the pain.

We wonder whether the PURC issued any such report and whether anybody was indicted for that national disgrace which occurred on three occasions this year.

It appears to us that as a nation, we have lost our value system. This has made it difficult for us to hold public office holders accountable for reneging on their official contract with the people.

The Daily Graphic thinks that until we are able to hold people accountable and deal decisively with those who do not measure to the standards, there is no way we can deal with the ills of our society.