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Opinions of Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Columnist: Lamptey, Alfred

Prepaid meter- a bane to the ordinary Ghanaian.

The prepaid meters replaced the postpaid meters in
Ghana in the year 2005 up to date, this is done to ensure efficiency in the
usage of electricity and also to reduce the cumbersome nature of the work of
the electricity personnel at Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

The electricity company of Ghana has enumerated
quite a number of advantages that are associated with the use of the prepaid
meters. Some of these advantages were stated by Mr. Fred ennison (spelling of
name stands for correction) of Electricity Company of Ghana in charge of the
prepaid meters, he stated that the prepaid meters are convenient to ECG and the
personnel because there is no need for the distribution of electricity bills to
various houses or residence. Also he stated that the use of the prepaid meters
will ensure that no bills are left by tenants for landlords when tenets are
ejected or they leave one compound to the another, Mr. Fred continued that the
prepaid meters has made things so easy to the extent that there will be no more
monthly bills charged on any user of electricity in this country. All these
advantages are well considered by the ordinary Ghanaian but the situation or
the usage of the prepaid meters has also brought numerous disadvantages that
far outweigh the advantages, these disadvantages were stated explained by
ordinary Ghanaians during data collection about the prepaid meters.

First, to the ordinary Ghanaian the prepaid meters
are very expensive. Here the ordinary Ghanaian means that the amount of money
that goes into these prepaid meters is more than the postpaid meters. a
statement made by civil servant was that the ordinary civil personnel receive
not more than three hundred Ghana cedis a month and with that amount of money
the ordinary Ghanaian spends about 25% on prepaid electricity alone. This gives
the understanding that the prepaid meters are expensive to operate in a country
like Ghana that is now developing. Another reason for it being expensive is the
fact the meters run very fast than the postpaid meters and for that reason one
need to buy as much as possible as directly related to the reading of the

Second, accessibility for the prepaid units is also
scarce for this reason people need to form queues at ECG offices throughout the
country in order to get some of the units. This problem of queues has put a lot
of workers into tights corners since they have to leave their offices with or
without permission to get some of this unit. Productivity in the private sector
is also reducing gradually because with most private sectors without
electricity production can proceed.

Technical faults with the meter are a crucial point
that can never be overlooked. The meters are so faulty to the extent that
people need to sleep in dark for months after struggling to get the unit. The
meters go off at any time, uploading of units onto the meter is also another
problem not forgetting the so called expiry date with the unit cards and the

Also the problems that the ordinary Ghanaian faces
with the prepaid meter is all because the education the was suppose to be a
forerunner for the installment of the prepaid meters was not thorough or
enough, due to this operating of the meter by ordinary Ghanaians has never been

All these disadvantages can not be stated without
mentioning the behavior of the workers responsible fro seeing to the
installation, repairing and responding to the needs of the users of these
prepaid meters. The behavior of the workers is too awful that they give no
respect to any person in the process of responding to the needs of their
customers. They report to work late, and do not give any advice or education to

There is the existence of partiality in the
installation of these prepaid meters; this is because the vice president John
Mahama stated that there would be installation in all 4000 or more ministries,
government departments, and all governmental agencies throughout the country,
is this thing being done or has it been done.? Government indebtedness to the
ECG more than eighty million Ghana cedis (80000000) and yet nothing has been
done about it.

Mr. fred once said that as time goes on ghanians
would be abreast with the way the prepaid metrs work, I do not accept that
statement because Ghanaians can never be abreast with the faulty and burdened
prepaid meters.

Government need to do something about this for the
ordinary Ghanaian is suffering day in and day out. The government when taking
actions and making policies should have the ordinary Ghanaian who can not
afford a three square meal a day into consideration and stop burdening them.

Lamptey Alfred