Compiled by Alfred Kwesi Adams .
The management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has acted swiftly to disconnect a vehicle washing bay from the national grid.
The washing bay, which was recently constructed, is situated under ECG pylons, which transmit electricity, through Tadisco Down, a suburb of Takoradi in the Effia Kwesimintsim Municipality, exposing workers and customers, as well as passersby, to danger.
Speaking to newsmen after touring the site of the facility, the Western Regional Public Relations Officer of the ECG, Ben Quarcoo, revealed that the facility posed a danger considering its location under electricity transmitting pylons.
He added that anybody could be electrocuted if the washing bay was left to operate. “The pylons transmit electricity, so somebody might end up electrocuted, and we don’t want something like that to happen, so we have taken the steps to disconnect them from the main line, until we take steps to bury the cable, and until that is done we won’t allow them to operate.”
He added that what made the facility more dangerous was the fact that the spray water gun used by the facility to wash vehicles was a good conductor of energy. As a result, when the spray gun puts water on the cables, it could electrocute those around, or when the water even touches any metal.
Questions have been raised about how the washing bay obtained a permit from the Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Authority (STMA), the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Fire Service to erect the facility under ECG pylons.
The STMA has come out to deny that it had issued the facility a permit to operate.
The Public Relations Officer of the Assembly, Mr. John Laste, told the media that the STMA stopped the development, and even went to the extent of barring the developer from continuing the project through an official notice.
“We stopped him on the basis that he has no permit and that the project was under a high tension cable.”
He continued that the Mayor of the STMA had an official meeting with the Municipal Executive Officer of the newly-created Effia Kwesimintsim Municipal Assembly (EKMA), where the washing bay now falls after the split of the STMA, telling him not to allow the project to go on.
To John Laste, the STMA could not be blamed for looking on unconcerned whilst the developer completed the project.
However, checks at the newly-created district EKMA show that no permit had been issued for the developer to continue with the project. This situation has raised worry over how the developer was able to ‘deceive’ the state agencies and go ahead to site the project under a high tension cable, and got electricity to power the project.
As at the time the disconnection exercise took place, the owner of the washing bay was unavailable and the workers declined to speak on the issue.
When ECG was asked if they had consented to that construction, they revealed that it had just come to their attention.
The Western Regional Engineer of the ECG, Ibrahim Yakubu, revealed that some verbal reports were lodged with them upon construction of the washing bay.
However, he added, “…we will ensure that those that are too dangerous will be taken off, and in the long term, we will discuss it a bit further, as some people in that enclave use the services and it may not be humane to cut them off…” the ECG Regional Engineer opined.
The enclave under high tension pylons is being inhabited by squatters.