The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is not working to damage the image of the President John Dramani Mahama led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration contrary to allegations by some government officials, the PRO of the Accra West Branch of ECG, Eric Asante has said.
“I would blatantly say that it is not possible, the whole workers of ECG are in bed with somebody planning sabotage? We cannot say that, this is not the first time ECG has rolled out software that has encountered such problems and some of the workers have worked for many years under various regimes so it is not possible,” he told Emefa Apawu on Class FM’s 505 news programme on Tuesday May 24.
He was responding to allegations by Majority Chief Whip Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak who accused the ECG of undermining President Mahama’s quest to end the erratic power situation [dumsor] which has bedeviled the country for the past four years.
Consumers have expressed unhappiness about recent overbilling by the state power distributor.
Speaking on the floor of parliament Tuesday May 24, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase said: “Reports suggest that in several cases, the cost of consumption has more than doubled and this has imposed undue hardship on virtually all Ghanaians, especially on the ordinary masses”.
“It has come to my notice that where some individuals have complained to ECG, the errors in their billing were corrected and the problems were somehow resolved, but for the majority of consumers, the overbilling still persists. …It has come to my notice that the overall effect of this is that the effort of President John Dramani Mahama to permanently solve the long-standing power crisis is severely being undermined and the crisis in the supply of electricity is being deepened,” he added.
The Asawase legislator said errors in the billing of the newly installed pre-paid meters were due to administrative lapses as a result of poor supervision of technical officers and their superiors; deliberate efforts by some unscrupulous ECG officials to take advantage of the new billing arrangement for personal gains; and over estimation of bills by consumers on postpaid meters, have all conspired to culminate in the current billing anomaly.
But Mr Asante argues that: “Overbilling has been with us all these years that the ECG has been in existence but I think it is the degree of error we are experiencing which the regulator has pointed out”.
He admitted that the current anomalies were overwhelming but stressed that the ECG “can assure everyone that we are professionals and we will make sure that our core values will be adhered and cannot allow any staff to sabotage anyone at the expense of this software [new billing system]”. We will make sure that we solve the problem, it is a system that is not totally bad as it is being professed to be”.
Meanwhile MP for Dormaa Central, Kweku Agyeman-Manu has described the allegations of the Majority Chief Whip as “senseless”.
“What would ECG gain by sabotaging the government? Was it not the government that appointed the managing director of the ECG? Will an NPP [New Patriotic Party] sympathiser be appointed to head the ECG under this NDC government? That can never be true. So, how does someone you have appointed to smoothly manage the affairs of a state organisation sabotage you?,” the MP asked.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman said the current situation required “common sense” to address, rather than accusations.
He continued: “This is no sabotage, this is the impact of a wrong policy and strategy of implementation. That is all. This is one of the effects of bad governance. This is one of the effects of taking a decision and you do not sit down to analyse the impact on the citizenry.”
He said government did not think about the governed in approving the increases in electricity at the end of 2015 as it was only concerned with billing citizens and misappropriating revenue.
“That is all… I don’t think there is any sense in what my colleague said,” he concluded.