The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) will not write off the almost eight-year power debt owed the state utility company by the people of Krobo, as proposed recently by two youth group in the area, the Managing Director of the power distributor, Mr MD Kwame Agyemang, has told journalists.
The suggestion was made by Kloma Hengme and Kloma Gbi in a joint statement following the restoration of power to the area after several days of a total blackout, which the ECG claimed was caused by some “unscrupulous” persons, even though the locals insisted it was a planned plunge to punish the entire ethnic group for the continuous aggression toward the company by one particular youth group known as United Krobo Foundation.
At a press conference on Thursday, 16 December 2021, Mr Agyemang said: “The proposal of the association is not workable”.
“We have had several engagements with our stakeholders in the Krobo district and have continuously strengthened the need for those indebted to ECG to pay their bills”, he said.
He noted: “Whereas some customers see the need to sustain ECG as a national asset by paying their accumulated, others are not paying because they think the power consumed must be free. This attitude may be due to an alleged MoU [signed] between Kwame Nkrumah, our late president, and the Krobo elders, exempting Krobos from paying electricity bills”.
However, the ECG MD said: “The Krobo chiefs and other prominent Krobo citizens have debunked this fallacy”.
He also denied perceptions that the recent protracted outage, which coincided with the relocation of ECG’s Somanya office to Juapong in the Volta Region, was deliberate.
“There’s a misconception that the outage experienced in the Krobo district last week was to punish faithful customers for the wrongs of a few. We want to state categorically that in our announcement that followed the outage, we explained that it was due to technical challenges and as a preventive measure”, Mr Agyemang stressed.
He said: “When we relocated operations to Juapong, we made mention of the fact that we would need security escort to maintain the system or repair faults in the Krobo area because of their threat and other issues”.
“Unfortunately”, he noted, “within that period, we lost two transformers”.
“After a diagnosis of the event that led to the loss of these transformers, we discovered that some unauthorised persons transferred load from a transformer that was down, due to an overload, to an adjacent transformer, which eventually, got overloaded, too”, he explained.
“This meant that we lost two transformers due to the actions of some faceless persons”, he said.
He argued that in that circumstance, the outage became necessary to avert any destruction.
“In order to save lives and properties, we had no option than to isolate the feeders from serving the area”, he said.
As to when ECG would return to its Somanya office, Mr Agyemang said it all depended on the security situation.
He said the Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Krobo chiefs, as well as MPs for Yilo Krobo, Lower Manya Krobo and Upper Manya Krobo constituencies, together with presiding members and other high-ranking opinion leaders, “came to ECG’s head office in Accra to engage with ECG management”.
“They made a passionate appeal for ECG to reopen the Somanya office and resume full operations in Somanya”, he said.
However, he said that can only happen is certain conditions were met.
“I wish to say that the security agencies are assessing the situation on the ground. Based on security advice, the Somanya office will be open for commercial operations. The security situation will be reviewed periodically and when the experts assure us of the safety of our staff, we will mobilise and resume full operations from Somanya district”, he noted, but added: “Until the total safety of staff is guaranteed, it will be difficult to convince them to return. They also have the right to life”.