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Opinions of Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Sack these misfits managing the Electricity Corporation of Ghana

I could not believe my eyes when I read a publication on Ghanaweb under their General News of Friday, 27 May 2016 titled, “ECG admits there are 'political meters’ in the system”. The underlying web link takes any reader interested in knowing the facts, and the ulterior motive behind this reactive publication of mine, to the said publication and why I demand that some people at the ECG must be fired!

The Ashanti Regional Public Relations Manager of the company (ECG), Mr Erasmus Kyere-Baidoo, and some ECG engineers or operatives at the ECG Metering Department in Kumasi have made it public the following statements.

1.In the year 2014, over 24,000 electric meters inexplicably found their way into the system without the slightest knowledge of the company.

2.In the year 2015, about 44,848 electric meters mysteriously got into the system without ECG management having any knowledge of such occurrence.

Mr Erasmus Kyere-Baidoo owes me an explanation or answers to the following questions:
a) When did he and his colleagues became aware of electric meters mysteriously finding their way into the system, thus, connected to the electricity supply system of Ghana?
b) How did they know that the electric meters were supplied to their current possessors and, or owners, thus, those presumed to be having the meters, by politicians, and to be more precise, Members of Parliament?

Have our dishonourable Law makers, corrupt as most of them are, become Law breakers now?
c) When the possessors of the meters were discovered to have illegally or criminally connected them to the ECG’s service cables, what did Mr Erasmus Kyere-Baidoo and his engineers do?

d) Is it illegal for one to possess a private electric meter in Ghana? If yes, at what point does it become illegal? Is it when the meter is connected to the ECG’s supply system without the knowledge of ECG’s engineers and, or permission; or, when one is merely found to be possessing one, installed but not yet connected to the ECG’s system?

e) When the meters and their connection to the ECG’s system without paying for the consumption of power as have been alleged was found, what steps have Mr Erasmus Kyere-Baidoo taken to redress the anomaly? Has he reported the illegal consumers of power to the police? Has he had the meters disconnected from the supplier’s system?
f) In which area, thus, constituencies and districts, are such malpractices going on, and who are the Members of Parliament that distributed the meters to their current possessors?

For your information Mr. Erasmus Kyere-Baidoo, the mere possession of an electric meter in one’s house, whether it is the same as those officially supplied by the ECG or not, is NOT illegal or criminal by international law.

It only becomes illegal or criminal when it gets connected to the ECG’s, or the public or any private power supplier’s system, other than the person’s own electricity supply system, without their knowledge as it now appears to be the case.

I have made the above statement from the point of view of seeing electric meters being sold at big shops that deal in building materials across Europe and the Americas. The only difference is, you have to make sure that the supply is aware and the calibration of the meter suits their specifications especially, when it is not to replace an old and broken meter, but for a new installation.

The supplier must get their own qualified engineers to install it, or be aware of such an installation, so that they know the location where it is, and can register or capture the meter on to their system to avoid the situation of trafficking, or illegal consumption, of electricity.

Since the service cable belongs to the ECG, anyone connecting their meter to the cables without the knowledge of ECG has committed a criminal offence that is punishable by law. Even though I do not know much about the laws governing electricity supply and consumption in Ghana, one thing I know is: taking someone’s property without their knowledge and not returning it constitutes a theft; and any theft is punishable by law.

According to Mr. Erasmus Kyere-Baidoo, the meters now found in the system which were previously unknown to them “was costing the power suppliers huge sums of revenue loss”. Could this not explain why some genuine electricity consumers or customers were being forced to pay many times their actual consumption of electricity through the dubiously calibrated “Usain Bolt” electric meters supplied by the ECG?

If the operatives of ECG are scared to challenge and prosecute anyone found consuming their electricity illegally but find it collusively right to pass on the bill to other genuine consumers as it is currently the ongoing situation in Ghana, then I call on Mr Erasmus Kyere-Baidoo and his bunch of cowards at the ECG to resign. They are all misfits who are not to be in the positions they currently hold at the ECG.

For other illegal connections made with the knowledge of Ghana electricians or electrical engineers, but not the staff of ECG, I had a solution to it many years ago.

I conveyed them to the attention of then President J. J. Rawlings of which though I was harsh in that letter to him; highlighting the problems and offering solutions, he did reply to it under a classified referenced number. That showed me how much former President Rawlings cared about Ghana but he later allowed himself to be consumed absolutely by power, hence his failure as a credible President of Ghana.

I shall pass on the information to any future President who will be ready to implement them to help curtail the illegal connections of electricity which do not only lead to loss of much needed revenue to the ECG but also, numerous fire outbreaks arising from illegal connections to the supply system.

I have tried not to use any jargons (terms understood by only those in the electrical field or a particular area of study) so that ordinary people unfamiliar with electricity supply, distribution and consumption will understand this piece.