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Utility overbilling: ECG to audit meters

A taskforce of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) inaugurated by the Power Ministry is gearing up for an audit of some selected ECG meters to establish the veracity or otherwise of over-billing concerns of some consumers.

The Power Ministry, on Wednesday May 18, said the audit had become necessary owing to increasing complaints by consumers about faulty meters and their accompanying exorbitant charges.

The taskforce, made up of officials of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), the Energy Commission (EC), the Ministry of Power and ECG, are to run tests on the meters.

Deputy Power Minister John Abu Jinapor, who addressed a news conference Wednesday May 18, appealed to consumers to cooperate with the team that will be conducting the exercise.

“What we want to do is to do an audit of the system, especially with the meters to ensure that they read in conformity with the gazetted tariff, so, simply put, if ECG is to bill you, they have to do so in accordance with the PURC-approved tariffs”, he stated.

“…PURC will look at the economic issues of it in terms of calculations. The Energy Commission will lead the process to do an audit of some selected meters. We have received a number of complaints and what we have to do is to do what they call parallel running with a check meter to ensure that at least the integrity of the metering system is intact and also look at the software that ECG uses to check the bills and to calculate their bills.

“I appeal to customers, consumers, and the general public to remain calm. We shall take whatever steps are necessary to protect the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian and we wish to appeal to the consumers to collaborate with the team that we have set up, which will go round to conduct this investigation and we expect that they submit their report within two weeks or maximum one month.”

Mr Jinapor said anybody who has been overcharged will be credited.

“Following this audit, anybody who has been billed inappropriately or has been overbilled, ECG will credit back.”

Asked how the taskforce could identify consumers with metering problems, he said: “There is a database of people who have complained that they believe their meter is reading beyond what is normal, but the committee is also at liberty to do random sampling.”

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