Sunday, August 8, 2010

ECG TO INTRODUCE SPLIT PREPAYMENT METERS IN KUMASI (PAGE 18, AUGUST 7, 2010)

THE Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is to begin the installation of split prepayment meters in Kumasi before the end of this year.
The project, which is expected to help reduce commercial losses and improve revenue collection of the company, is part of the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP).
The Ashanti Regional Public Relations Manager of the ECG, Mr Erasmus Kyere Baidoo, confirmed in an interview that arrangements were underway to make the exercise successful.
He indicated that no one needed to apply for the split metres, explaining that the company’s technicians would be moving to customer points to effect the changes.
Information on GEDAP posted on the Internet says,” the overall aim of the project is to improve the operational efficiency of the electricity distribution system and increase the population’s access to electricity, and to help transition Ghana to a low-carbon economy through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions”.
About 346,000 of ECG’s customers in the Ashanti Region are using post-paid (credit) meters.
However, meter tampering, electricity theft, meter reading errors and payment arrears have led to high commercial losses by ECG in that area.
Ashanti Region has the highest energy losses amongst ECG’s operational areas (approximately 32 per cent), which is unacceptably high.
The goal of the proposed investments under GEDAP is to reduce the system losses in the Ashanti Region from 32 per cent to about 22 per cent, and to improve revenue collection.
The split metre had a dual system – one of the prepayment meters mounted in a pole-top enclosure with respective customer interface to improve the operational efficiency of the electricity distribution system, and another in the building itself.
Mr Baidoo said with time, the split metres will be installed in other parts of the region.
He said the company was poised to continuously improve its operational capacity in spite of the constraints.
Even before the split metres were installed, the company was replacing faulty metres of its customers.
To ensure more efficiency in its operations, the ECG had divided Ashanti Region into two operational regions- Ashanti East and Ashanti West, while a number of revenue points had been opened in the districts.
He, therefore, advised customers to make use of accredited offices to address their complaints instead of using third persons.
“Our observation is that many customers most often end at our entry points only to allow themselves to be misled by non-staff.
“Consequently, customers who genuinely want to do business with us end up being extorted and they only turn round to blame us,” he said.