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Parliament Summons John Jinapor
 
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25-May-2016  
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The Deputy Minister of Power, Mr John Jinapor, has been invited to appear before Parliament to brief members on the concrete steps being taken by the ministry to address the crisis in electricity billing.

The Deputy Minister was invited following an urgent statement made by the Majority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, on the alleged exorbitant itemised statement of money owed for services rendered by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

In recent times several electricity consumers have complained about unnecessarily high electricity bills resulting from tariff adjustments made by the ECG. 

The complaints have come from both life-line  and other categories of consumers

Reports suggest that in several cases, the cost of consumption has more than doubled and that has imposed undue hardships on all,  especially the ordinary Ghanaian.

In cases where some individuals  have complained directly to the  ECG, the errors in the billing were corrected and the problems somehow resolved.

But for majority of consumers, the over-billing still persists.

Muntaka's statement 

Alhaji Muntaka who is also the member of Parliament for Asawase, said information available to him indicated that the problem was caused by errors in the billing by the newly installed prepayment meters;  administrative lapses due to poor supervision of technical officers by supervisors;  deliberate effort by some unscrupulous ECG officials to take advantage of the new billing arrangements for personal gain and overestimation of bills by consumers on post-paid meters.

Recommendations

On account of what he said had caused the problem, Alhaji Muntaka suggested the following: immediate steps by the ECG to correct the technical errors associated with the meters and collaboration  between the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC ) to review the fault to restore "the lifeline state" to the underprivileged.

He also called for urgent steps to give individual households meters instead of distribution to compound houses.

In cases where consumers have been overbilled, he said, arrangements should be made for the ECG to either refund the excess payment or credit the accounts of consumers affected.

Contributions

The Member for Dormaa Central, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said employees of some companies had lost their jobs because their employers had had to reduce staff as a result of the high electricity tariffs. 

He said the matter should be referred to the Mines and Energy Committee for an in depth investigation into the matter.

He said information available to him indicated  that some ECG officials recalibrated the meters to make them over bill consumers, adding that such issues needed to be investigated to ascertain the veracity. 

The member for Nkoranza North, Major Derek Oduro (retd) said the House needed to take immediate steps to ensure that the matter was dealt with.

Pure propaganda 

The member for Atwima -Mponua,  Mr Isaac  Asiamah,  in an interview, said the statement by Alhaji Muntaka, was mere propaganda.

He said the President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, had said, at the  beginning of the year,  that if Ghanaians  wanted reliable power, they needed to pay more. 

The huge electricity bills, he said were therefore,  a deliberate policy or plan by the government.

For the Asawase MP to make statements on the floor as if he sympathised with the consumer, in Mr Asiamah's opinion, was a "cheap and cunning trick."
 
 
 
Source: Graphic.com.gh
 
 

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