Provide efficient services to Ghanaians – Energy Minister tells ECG

Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Energy Minister, has asked the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to provide efficient services to Ghanaians to guarantee more revenue for their operations. He stated that Ghanaians were willing to pay acceptable rates if the power retailer provided them with more efficient services. ‘Ghanaians are willing to pay [their electricity bills], especially, if you give them the right services. So, ECG must do more… it is up to them to bill correctly,’ he said. The minister made the call at a press briefing in Accra on Thursday. His appeal comes as ECG embarks on a nationwide drive to recover debt due to it by individuals, as well as public and private institutions, to increase revenue. ECG has increased its monthly revenue collection from GHS480 million to GHS1.1 billion through its Revenue Protection Task Force, a body responsible for reducing commercial losses. However, the minister stated that more than 1.5 million Ghanaians required meters, with many electricity customers concerned about ECG’s unconscionable billing. He explained that high losses (technical, commercial and collection), frequency and duration of outages, and unmetered premises, were the main challenges in the power distribution sector. Dr Prempeh particularly expressed concern about losses incurred by ECG, cautioning, ‘You [ECG] will soon lose the moral right to ask Ghanaians to pay more.’ As of September 2023, data provided by ECG showed that the company had incurred technical losses of GHS1,279,369,021.42, commercial losses of GHS2,758,872,791.21, and collection losses of GHS2,050,373,143.47. ‘Nobody understands these losses, because no matter what you are doing, and how much you collect, you are losing it through these losses. It is becoming a sticky point, and we must find a way of dealing with it,’ he said. To mitigate the losses, the minister stated that the Ministry was collaborating with ECG on transformative efforts such as the digitalization of the company’s processes. ‘Now, nearly 70 per cent of the people are paying through [bills] the ECG app, they [ECG] are bringing out more modern metres, all because of the over GHS2.5bn collection losses,’ Mr Prempeh said. He also stated that the ECG PowerApp had experienced a surge in online payments, with users increasing from 250,000 in May 2022 to 3,045,000 in October 2023, resulting in an average monthly revenue of GHS745 million for the company. Dr Opoku Prempeh emphasised the importance of Ghanaians using more energy-efficient devices to aid in conservation, as the government increased generation capacity to ensure reliability of supply.

‘We want the lights to be on when you want it, but we want people to be more considerate in using energy efficient devices so that we don’t waste power,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency