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Business News of Friday, 14 September 2018

Source: Michael Creg Afful

ECG welcomes Energy Minister's fight against power theft

Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has welcomed the decision by the Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu, to fight illegal electricity connection in the country.

According to the ECG, power theft, popularly known as illegal connection, has been draining the company's finances and for that matter Ghana's economy and, in the light of this, the ECG commends the sector Minister's bold decision.

Data from the ECG available to this writer, indicates that out of about 250,616 meters examined across the country, 11,890 were found to have been tampered with.

Per the regional distribution of illegal connections, Ashanti Region tops, followed by Accra West and Central Region.

Eastern Region was on the fourth position, while Western, Accra East, Tema and Volta followed.

Per the data, ECG has been able to retrieve GHC26,007,153 from power theft between January and July 2018.

Speaking to Oman FM, the Public Relations Officer of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), William Boateng, who expressed serious concerns about the issue, applauded the Energy Minister for his readiness to fight illegal electricity connection.

He explained that power theft is one of the major problems, as far as the operations of the company is concerned.

William Boateng, who described the issue as worrying, noted that power theft contributes to between 15 and 20 percent of the losses in the operations of the company, stressing that "it is because of this that we have created loss control unit in all the regions.

"We are paying particular attention on illegal connection, so we commend the Minister for his determination to tackle the issue. He has really inspired us and we're ready to support him to deal with it," he stated.

He underscored the need for the Regulatory Bodies namely, PURC, Energy Commission, as well as the Energy Ministry, to consider reviewing the laws regulating electricity theft to make sanctions against illegal connection much more stiffer.

He said the law should be reviewed such that if, for instance, a customer engages in illegal connection, that customer will be made to pay for the stolen power and also get disconnected for some weeks or months.
Additionally, he said the culprit could be made to hang a tag around the neck with well emblazoned inscription: 'I engaged in illegal connection', and made to parade the streets for days.

In his view, such punishment would deter those engaging in illegal connection.

Mr Boateng revealed that ECG will soon appoint illegal electricity connection ambassadors within the media fraternity to lead the fight against power theft.