The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is embarking on a nationwide revenue mobilisation exercise from today to recover all unpaid bills amounting to GH¢5.7 billion from its customers.
The exercise, which will last for a month, targets domestic users, businesses, organisations, ministries, departments and state agencies for power already consumed from 2022 to February this year.
"The target is 100 per cent and the plan is to get everyone who owes to pay, so we are not leaving anyone out, not even my home, if it is found out that I owe," the Managing Director of ECG, Samuel Dubik Mahama, told the Daily Graphic in an interview ahead of the exercise.
Last week, the ECG announced that it would embark on a revenue mobilisation exercise from March 20 to April 20, 2023, to recoup all debts owed by all categories of customers, including state owned enterprises (SOEs).
Consequently, the company was temporarily closing down all its administrative offices to deploy its staff to be collectors on the field during the one-month period.
However, the engineers, technical staff and the operations, as well as the customer care units, are to be at work to attend to customers.
Per a copy of the deployment of members of the task force shared with the Daily Graphic, the exercise would be operational in each district and the respective managers would lead their teams.
Explaining the rationale for deploying all administrative staff to be collectors for the ECG, Mr Mahama said the debt situation had reached worrying levels, thus it had become important to ensure that it was improved to preserve the integrity of the company.
He said while the company had an idea about the debt situation, the picture was better painted after ECG upgraded its digitlisation process, hence the need to reverse the situation before it negatively affected its operation.
“We buy power to sell, and we cannot allow this situation to happen. After providing the service and the power is consumed, bills are in arrears of this huge amount, and that cannot continue to happen. We have to stay in business, our suppliers also need to stay in business, so we are going all out to recover the arrears.
“It has got to a point where everyone needs to help. This is non-partisan, so we must all pay our bills to continue to enjoy power,” the ECG MD stressed.
Mr Mahama said following the notice to embark on the exercise, discussions had been held and most of the state agencies and ministries that owed had agreed to pay their debts.
He said while critical installations such as government health facilities and the national security offices were exempted from this exercise following a separate discussion on those institutions, all other installations, such as private hospitals and the airports, would be included in the mobilsation exercise.
“Conversations are far advanced on the critical installations such as the government hospitals and other public health facilities and the other security installations on how their debt is to be settled.
“However, the private health facilities and the airports will not be exempted, and they will have to make a payment plan to clear their debt,” he stressed.
Security, grace period
Mr Mahama added that all illegal connections would be targeted and charged as stealing to be referred to the utility court set up exclusively to deal with such offences.
He appealed to consumers not to obstruct the task force from accessing the meters, but rather cooperate to ensure that the exercise was successful.
“We are aware that some consumers, especially those in private homes, try to obstruct our task force from accessing their homes and meters. We will appeal to them to cooperate and allow us to do our work.
“If not, we will drop the service cable and ensure that the bill is paid in full before service is restored,” Mr Mahama stressed.
He said every member of the task force would have an ID for easy verification, while no-one would accept cash payment during the exercise, but consumers would be assisted to make payments through the known channels.
“No member of the task force will be receiving cash payments. Anyone who would want to make on the spot payment would be assisted to either pay electronically or invoices will be generated for them to pay at the banks,” he said.