Kumasi, Sept. 5, GNA - Professor Mike Ocquaye, Minister of Energy, has warned against illegal connection of electric power and urged the public to report such activities to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for necessary action.
He said he would have discussions with the Chief Justice to try offenders of illegal electric power connections at the commercial courts to ensure prompt prosecution of culprits.
Prof Ocquaye gave the warning at a press briefing in Kumasi on Saturday after inspecting some ongoing infrastructure projects of the ECG in the Kumasi metropolis.
The projects were a 5.2 billion cedis four-storey office complex and 2.9 billion cedis technical staff offices for the Ashanti West District of the company at Patase and Adum respectively. Both projects are being funded from the internally generated resources of the company.
The Minister said illegal electric power connections apart from denying the company 25 per cent of its revenue, also contribute to the high cost of unit of electricity paid by law-abiding customers of the ECG.
Prof. Ocquaye said, through sound financial management, ECG was currently being able to generate resources to undertake some its infrastructure projects.
He said ECG was utilising funds sourced from the Norwegian Guarantee Institute (GIEK), the World Bank and its internally generated resources to rehabilitate, expand and improve the existing network and provide civil infrastructure in the Ashanti Region.
Prof Ocquaye mentioned some of the projects as the replacement of obsolete 11KV switchgear in Kumasi (Station C) Airport (Station B), Neoplan, Nsuta, Kumawu, Effiduase and Bibiani with modern state of the art equipment at a total cost of 18 billion cedis, which would be completed in December this year.
He said four new 33/11kv primary substations would also be commissioned at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Amanfrom, Abuakwa and Jackson Park by the year 2006 at a total cost of eight million dollars.
The Minister said a 15.2 million-dollar credit facility from the World Bank had been secured to improve 70 systems identified for implementation in the Ashanti Region, adding that, work would be completed in June 2006.
Prof Ocquaye hinted that discussions were underway to enact laws that would systematically eliminate the use of non-energy saving bulbs and appliances from the system.
Mr Stephen Akuoko, Managing Director of ECG, said with the current rehabilitation and expansion projects going, the region was expected to enjoy uninterrupted power supply after completion. He urged the media to assist the company to educate the public against illegal connections.