The Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG, has closed down its Somanya operational office effective this December 2021, and has opened a new office at Juapong from where staff in the defunct office will henceforth operate until the ECG-Klo impasse is settled.
The move according to management has become imperative given the security threats staff are susceptible to as a result of the seemingly unending feud between the company and customers in the Klo land.
The General Manager of the ECG, Kwame Agyeman Budu, at a presser in Tema said given the environment stemming from the misunderstanding, it is not advisable to allow staff work from that office any longer.
I will not jeopardise the lives of my staff and allow them to continue to work from that office until the issue is peacefully and amicably dealt with” he opined.
Mr. Budu was, however, quick to add that, closure of the Somanya office is not a punishment to the people of Klo, neither is it a substitute for the newly opened Juapong office, saying operationalization of the new office has been long overdue.
Touching on the SHEP metres which is one of the two major factors that occasioned the present development, the ECG MD hinted that the SHEP metres project since 2017 has unlike previously passed through the company and this is to avert situations where ECG struggles to locate these metres that were not installed by the company resulting in revenue losses.
Mr. Budu reiterated that, there is, has never been any memorandum of understanding between ECG and Klo people exempting them from electricity bills payment 50 years after the Akosombo hydro station has been commissioned.
The Tema Regional Manager of ECG, Engineer Emmanuel Akinie, on his part placed it on record that the ECG has not disconnected the people of Klo, but has closed the Somanya one to ensure the safety of staff, as residents would have to transact business from the new office at Juapong. Ing. Akinie responding to a question of the company’s inability to retrieve its debt and losing out on revenue by closing the office said, the prime concern of ECG currently is the lives of its staff members and any other consideration is secondary.
Residents of Yilor and Manya Klo attacked the ECG office at Somanya in 2017 and vandalised some properties in protest against over billings which according to ECG arose out of the deployment of SHEP metres and introduction of a new billing system which developed some fault initially.
According to ECG, with the help of PURC, a resolution was arrived at to ring-fence 2014 to 2017 accumulated bills which were in dispute to allow for further investigations, while the customers pay bills of consumed power from 2018 which are not in contention.
However, the people say ECG has reneged on about 90 percent of agreements reached out of the stakeholders’ engagements, one of which is to annul the 2014-2017 bills entirely which ECG says it cannot do.
That, coupled with the process to commence the deployment of smart prepaid metres in the Klo land as being done in other category ‘A’ areas of the Tema ECG has triggered the issue.
Management of ECG however pledged its readiness for further dialogue to bring finality to the issue.