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50 soldiers deployed to Yilo Krobo for ECG to install prepaid meters

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The Director of Customer Service, Anokye Abebreseh speaking to the media on Monday after a familiarization visit by the management of ECG led by the new Managing Director (ECG), Mr Samuel Dubik Masubir Mahama

In an effort to avert any possible clash between residents of Yilo Krobo and staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), a contingent of 50 military personnel has been deployed to the Krobo area to provide security to the staff of ECG, as they replace all post-paid meters with pre-paid meters.

As at the time of filing this report, the exercise, which started on Tuesday June 14, 2022 and was supervised by the military and assisted by National Security and the Police, has enjoyed large cooperation with its corresponding peaceful atmosphere.

The Municipal Chief Executive for Yilo Krobo Assembly, Eric Tetteh, who urged his constituents to cooperate with the ECG staff said the decision is a last resort after the people had been incited to resist the installation of prepaid meters.

According to him, the military personnel have a simple task to perform:  “the instruction is simple, when they enter your house and you say you don’t want a prepaid meter, they will disconnect you and move on.

He continued that customers who still insist on rejecting prepaid meters will be taken off the national grid.

Earlier on Monday, the Director of Customer Service, Anokye Abebreseh, said intensive engagements have been done with all stakeholders in the Krobo area, hence expecting maximum cooperation.

He made this known in an interview with the media, shortly after a familiarisation visit by the management of ECG, led by the new Managing Director (ECG),The Director of Customer Service.

The Director of Customer Service explained that management of ECG met a tripartite kind of a committee composed of Electricity Company, National Security and United Krobo Foundation last week, in a bid to fashion out and create common understanding to the exercise.

To him, the agreement is that ECG is going to install prepaid meters starting from Tuesday June 14, 2022 for which all stakeholders have agreed and “we are, therefore, going to deploy our men to the field to start the installation of prepayment meters.

“We have done a lot of stakeholder engagements so at least for now, calm is prevailing so come tomorrow 14th of June we are going to start deployment of prepayment meters,” said Anokye Abebreseh.

The installation of prepaid meters comes after years of impasse between Krobo residents and ECG which escalated into devastating attacks on the ECG office in Somanya and led to a deadly clash with police. The ECG office has since been shut down.

Residents vowed to resist the installation of prepaid meters while calling on ECG to write off debts owed by customers in Krobo land from 2018 to 2021.

Answering questions on the controversy of non-payment of electricity bills by residents, Mr. Anokye Abebreseh stressed that ECG has ring-fenced all arrears of customers in the Krobo area from the period between 2014 and 2017, but arrears between 2018 to date must be paid by customers within 5 years.  However, the debt will not be transferred into the prepaid meters to be installed.

“We made it clear that the period between 2014 and 2017 has been ring-fenced so that the customers, for now, will not border themselves about their amount, but then the period between 2018 to date the customers are supposed to pay but for goodwill purposes, we have asked that we are not going to put the debt on the new prepayment meters.

“Normally the practice is that when you put prepayment meter there, you put the debt on the post-paid meter  so that we will recover whatever debt, but in this case we said from 2018 to date we are not going to put it there, and that we will meet customers individually and determine how they should pay the debt.”

ISAAC AKWETEY-OKUNOR

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