The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is currently embarking on an aggressive revenue mobilisation drive to recoup its debts, which have become popularly known as “legacy debt”.
As part of the bellicose exercise, the ECG has cut off power supply to some state institutions which are heavily indebted to the power distributing company. They include the Ho Airport, the Ghana Revenue Authority and some tertiary institutions among others.
The antagonistic nature of the exercise, which appears to be the first of its kind in recent years, has forced other government institutions which are indebted to the ECG to reasonably settle all or part of their debts.
One notable institution is the Parliament of Ghana, which was said to owe the ECG a whopping GH¢13 million, to hurriedly pay GH¢8 million as part payment.
It has been argued that the non-payment of electricity bills by some government institutions has largely contributed to the inefficiencies of the ECG, as their heavy indebtedness incapacitate the company.
Undoubtedly, the huge figures involved in the amount of money these institutions owe the ECG lends ample credence to the fact that these government institutions are collapsing the ECG with their huge debts.
This is because, as a company, the ECG does not produce the power by itself, but it purchases it in bulk for distribution to its customers.
Its primary objective is to distribute electric energy to the people of Ghana within the company’s operational jurisdiction, and also provide reliable, quality and safe electricity services to support economic growth and development.
From the above, it is instructive to state emphatically that any attempt by state institutions to refuse to pay bills for the power they consume would be detrimental to the successful operations of the company.
In the light of this, The Chronicle would like to draw the company’s attention to a suggestion by Mr. Kofi Koranteng, who is an aspiring independent presidential candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
According to Mr. Kofi Koranteng, utility bills of government institutions must be paid monthly from the institutions’ accounts direct to the account of the ECG, through an electronic platform.
He said: “All costs associated with operations and utilities by government agencies should be automatically drafted by providers from the agencies account of record at the end of every month.”
This form of payment, he claimed, would make the ECG more financially stable and effective, because it would not create opportunities for state institutions to become heavily indebted to it.
Additionally, Mr. Koranteng opined that such payments would fade out the manual process which has become ineffective and demonstrate the government’s commitment to the digitisation drive of the country.
In our sincerest opinion, it is high time such a policy was introduced by the ECG to enable the company rake in the badly needed funds for its operations and purchase of needed materials for effective power distribution.
The paper, therefore, finds this idea not just laudable, but also justifiable, as it would go a long way to prevent state institutions from consuming electricity power without paying for same.
In the view of the paper, institutions must also have the relevant policies in place to check how utilities, particularly water and electricity, are used at the various offices to prevent wastage and their accompanying debts.
For instance, the average Ghanaian would turn off all unused electrical appliances, including air conditioners, at home before going out, but the moment we get to our various offices, the attitude changes.
Air conditioners could be left on in some offices for hours when there is nobody in the office and this is obviously due to our long-held perception that at our workplaces government is responsible for paying bills.
As stated by Mr. Koranteng, offices must have supervisors who would be in charge to whip staff in line with how electricity is used in various government offices.
We need to help the Electricity Company of Ghana to serve us better.