Source: Graphic Online
The illegal activities of some landlords and tenants at Kasoa near Accra are leading to the loss of huge sums of money to the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
Information gathered by the Daily Graphic from some residents who chose to remain anonymous revealed that some landlords and tenants, in a bid to avoid paying for the electricity they use, had resorted to various means to ‘beat’ the prepaid metering system.
One means by which some of the cheats beat the system is to place a razor blade on the section of the prepaid meter card where data are stored, after which they insert the card into the meter.
That, according to them, halted the recording of the power consumed by the user thus, allowing such consumers to enjoy free power for an unlimited persist.
Another method used, which was disclosed by a landlord, was the application of glue to the integrated circuit portion to prevent the meter from registering poower consumed.
Some also claimed that they had stayed in rented premises for many years without being asked to pay or contribute to the purchase of prepaid credit, even though they were on prepaid meters.
The sources explained to the Daily Graphic that they had decided to expose the acts because they would not like to be associated with such criminal activities. When contacted, the Kasoa District Manager of the ECG, Mr Bismark Otoo, said he had no knowledge of such acts.
On the use of blade, he said the meter was such that, it was impossible to slot in a blade and that even when one succeeded in doing that, there would be no communication between the device and the card.
“When you slot a blade inside, you make communication between the card and the meter impossible but you have not disabled it so when you run out of credit, it will leave you without electricity,” Mr Otoo further indicated.
On the application of glue, he said that could be possible because when the meter was opened, the internal wiring could be disabled to allow power to flow, an act that could stop the meter’s processor from working.
“When you open the body of the meter, you can do a lot of things to it, which is why we seal it. If we come to your house and the seal is broken then we know you have tampered with the meter and we have to prosecute you,” he said.
Illegal connections, meter by-passing and meter tampering had been listed as some of the means by which ECG loses revenue.
Although figures on how much ECG loses to such illegalities were not available, the company raked in GH¢4.8 million as penalty from 1,136 people who were caught engaged in the illegal acts in the first half of 2013.