Power Minister Bares Teeth At ECG Debtors…Launches Operation “Pay Your Bills Task Force” To End Dumsor

Tough-talking Dr. Kwabena Donkor, Minister for newly established Ministry of Power, has began taken steps to retrieve the Electricity Company of Ghana’s (E.C.G) shocking GH˘522, 168,676.69 debt owed the State agency, as a result of nonpayment of bills by customers, to solve the current power crisis, and end it eventually. The Minister, who together with the acting Managing Director of ECG, Robert Dwemena, and the ECG management inaugurated a taskforce to ensure retrieval of the bills, said they “decided to form taskforces at all levels of our operations to ensure prompt payment of bills and reduce drastically our private debt, which stands at GH˘522, 168,676.69 as at the third quarter of 2014”. The initiative, which was named “Pay Your Bills Task Force”, according to Dr. Donkor, was in line with the company’s “continuing strife to find innovative ways of boosting revenue collection, and bring down our debt in order to improve our overall operational efficiency in the industry”. Addressing journalists at the inauguration ceremony, last Friday, January 16, at the ECG’s head office, the Minister noted that the accumulation of debt by all categories of customers negatively affect the entire operations of the industry”, such as “V.R.A, GRIDCo and independent power producers.” The taskforce, which will be formed across all regional and district stations of the company, will be chaired by a member of the board, Dr. Ofosu Ahenkora, who would be assisted by Director of Customer Service, Director of Finance, Director of Material and Transport. It would be based at the Head Office. Giving the detailed responsibilities of the taskforce, Dr. Donkor said his men, “will lead and mobilize staff to ensure that the company collects 100 per cent of its billed revenue”, adding that they “will ensure that there are enough cash payment points in all our operational areas. He noted that, “in areas where ECG is not well represented, adequate number of bonded cashiers and prepayment vendors, should be engaged to make it easier for customers to pay their bills”. According to him, “public address systems should be mounted on our revenue mobilization vehicles for educating and encouraging people to pay their bills for better services to be rendered”. He said, “The taskforce should explore new payment systems that do not task customers to move physically to make payment”. He emphasized that, “where customers fail to pay their bills after 42 days, they should be disconnected”. Dr. Kwabena Donkor, who is also a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Pru East Constituency in the Brong Ahafo Region, and also chairs the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, charged the taskforce to “ensure that all arrears are paid, before disconnected accounts are connected” He indicated that, “in circumstances where the amount involved is GH˘1000.00 or more, only the district manager can schedule a payment plan”. The energy expert further added that “The taskforce, will have the additional responsibility on loss reduction by unearthing illegal connections, metre tampering and bypassing” and warned that a “Special prosecution courts, have been set up by the chief to prosecute people who engage in these illegal activities”.