13.08.2002 General News

Govt settles arrears with ECG

13.08.2002 LISTEN

THE Government has settled arrears totalling ¢129 billion with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in respect of power consumption by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from 1998 to date.

The move, which is the first in the history of the ECG, is aimed at equipping the company to deliver more efficiently to satisfy its consumers.

Mr David Vukania, the Director of Customer Services of the ECG, who disclosed this in an interview in Accra, said the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has also paid ¢38 billion to the ECG as part payment of arrears due the company.

Mr Vukania said following an agreement reached between the two utility providers, the GWCL will pay the remaining debts by instalments.

He described as positive the decision by the two institutions to frequently pay their bills since their arrears were a contributory factor to the problems initially encountered by the ECG which in turn affected its operations.

Mr Vukania said the government paid an initial amount of ¢81 billion to the company early this year and subsequently cleared an amount of ¢48 billion about two months ago and stated that “for the first time in our history, the government does not owe ECG which is very encouraging and an impetus to the company’s operations.”

According to him, one of the biggest problems which was confronting the company’s operations was the inability of the government and the GWCL to settle their bills.

Asked why the company continued to supply power to these institutions while they were not paying their bills, he explained that it is simply impossible to disconnect the two for social, health, economic and other reasons.

For instance, he said, “it is impossible to disconnect power supply to the Weija and Kpong Water Works, hospitals, ministries and other sensitive businesses being run by the government since any disconnection will lead to a chain disruption of essential services.” For these reasons, Mr Vukania explained that the company continued to incur losses and could simply not do anything about it.

He said with this new development, the company’s collection rate has improved tremendously and if things continue the way they are, “the company will be in a better position to render quality and uninterrupted services to consumers.”

Touching on the new tariffs, he said the company has observed that anytime there are increases in utility tariffs, collection rate of the ECG goes down for a month or two.

He attributed this to the reluctance of consumers to accept new tariffs for reasons best known to them and expressed the hope that the company will continue to count on the co-operation of its customers.

Mr Vukania, therefore, expressed the hope that the public will fully co-operate to enable the company to deliver quality and better services.

He hinted that the company was sourcing funds to enable it to replace all old transformers to enhance service delivery.

He appealed to consumers to learn how to conserve energy and avoid waste as much as possible.