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ECG to roll out 6% reward for tip-offs on illegal connection

Kwame Agyeman-Budu, managing director, Electricity Company of Ghana

Kwame Agyeman-Budu, managing director, Electricity Company of Ghana

The Electricity Company of Ghana is introducing a reward system of 6% upfront for reporting anyone who connects illegally to the national power grid.

The managing director of ECG, Kwame Agyeman-Budu, announced this in an interview with Kojo Mensah and Nana Yaa Mensah on this morning’s Asaase Breakfast Show.

“There was also something I was going to launch, but the COVID-19 put a hold on it. It is called ‘If you see something, say something and say it now’. That means if you see your mother is stealing, just report to us and … we pay you 6% upfront,” he said.

Deterrent effect

Agyeman-Budu said ECG had recently rewarded an informant in Tarkwa tens of thousands of cedis after receiving a report of one such incident.

“As soon as we discover the theft we generate a bill [and] we give you 6% upfront, whether we collect the money or not. Recently an informant was rewarded GHC84,000 in Tarkwa after we billed a customer for GHC1.4 million for engaging in illegalities,” the ECG boss said.

“I have engaged all major stakeholders, such as the Energy Commission, Ministry of Energy, Public Utilities Regulatory Commission. We have LI 1816 that governs our distribution section of the electricity chain [the technical and operational regulations applying to supply and distribution of electricity]. That LI is not stringent enough to deter people from stealing, so we are reviewing it to make it more deterrent so that people will not steal,” he said.

He expressed hope that the amendment of the legislative will make it less attractive for consumers to engage in illegal connection.

“Go to any of the French-speaking countries,” he said. “The law is much harsher there. Ivory Coast has a similar law which … jails defaulters a minimum of five years for such an offence.”

Mr Agyeman-Budu said an external task force to control such thefts of power from the grid has also been put on hold because of the spread of the coronavirus.

Customer service first

The ECG boss also spoke of the removal of middlemen, popularly known as “goro boys”, from the supply chain as one of the challenges that is being addressed. ECG is aiming to eliminate goro boys from its operations altogether, he said.

“We are trying very much to increase our staff intake on monitoring meters, and we have also increased [staffing on] the customer service centre desk. It used to be 22 seats: it’s now 30. So when a report comes in we can deal with it faster.”

The ECG managing director also announced that the firm is piloting a common platform to facilitate easy consumption of power by consumers wherever they might be.

“This coming September, thanks to MiDA [the Millennium Development Authority], we are going to have one common platform whereby you can purchase power from anywhere you are, irrespective of your location,” he said.

Fred Dzakpata

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