63742039

Source: The Finder

Work in several public institutions indebted to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), including Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), schools and hospitals, may grind to a halt next year as the power distributor plans to disconnect all of them during Christmas and early next year.

ECG plans to take advantage of the Christmas break to disconnect all public schools indebted to it when the schools are on break, as part of measures to bring efficiency into the system.

Sources within ECG told The Finder that the disconnection would be intensified during the Christmas break and, therefore, public institutions indebted would return from the holiday to work in darkness.

Currently, work at the former Ministry of Information, which has now been merged with the Communications Ministry, has slowed because ECG has disconnected them for owing about Ghc140,000.

The acting Rector of Koforidua Polytechnic, Godfred K. Abledu, accused the ECG of sabotage after the institution was disconnected following an accumulated unpaid bill of about Ghc400,000.

It will be recalled that power supply to the Kumasi Polytechnic was cut due to its indebtedness of about Ghc3 million, being the cost of power consumed by the institution.

Several other public institutions across the country have been disconnected for owing ECG.

ECG says it is undertaking the exercise as part of its revenue mobilisation drive to ensure that all customers who are indebted to the company fulfil their financial obligation, after exhausting the grace period extended for them to settle all bills in arrears.

When contacted, Public Relation Officer (PRO) of ECG, Mr William Boateng said, at a meeting with the Ministry of Energy at the beginning of this year, the understanding was that government will no longer pay utility bills for public institutions.

As a result, government was to pay the backlog as at the end of 2013.

He explained that all public institutions were to pay their bills from January this year, but with less than two weeks to end the year, several public institutions have not paid a dime.

He said every district has been tasked to retrieve monies owed by the institutions in their areas.

He explained that the consumption of most of the affected institutions exceeds the load limit of prepaid meters; therefore, ECG was forced to maintain bulk post-paid meters in such institutions.

Mr Boateng stated that before prepaid meters can be installed in such public institutions as directed, the institutions would need to spend money on separation of wires.

He said ECG has deferred the disconnection of public schools because authorities said they did not factor that into their bills for the previous term.

However, he said during the Christmas holidays, ECG would disconnect affected schools and health facilities.

Mr Boateng noted that the objective of the exercise was to mobilise revenue for the company following the downtrend of its revenue in recent times.

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