Despite the unresolved challenges in the billing of electricity consumers, especially those with pre-paid metering systems, President John Dramani Mahama has given Executive approval for the purchase of more Smart Pre-Paid meters worth US$80million.
The Smart Pre-paid meters are the very devices the people are complaining about because of errors in the billing system.
This means, in the not too distant future, more than hundred thousand customers are going to be signed on to the pre-paid metering system by the Electricity Company of Ghana to join those who are already suffering from the error ridden operating devices.
The approval by the President was contained in letter-referenced OP/CA.1/V6 dated 17th May, 2016.
The said letter authorized the Government of Ghana to enter into a Credit Facility Agreement with Cal Bank Limited for an amount of US$80million for the procurement of Smart Pre-paid meters and accessories for the Electricity Company of Ghana.
Following the Executive approval of the deal, the Ministries of Finance and Power have drafted the contractual agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and Cal Bank Limited for the credit facility.
This document, which was jointly signed by the respective sector ministries, is currently before Cabinet for approval after which it would be sent to Parliament for consideration and subsequent endorsement.
The Government is confident that “the procurement of the prepaid meters under this facility would contribute towards ECG’s drive to reduce commercial losses, increase cash flow for smooth operation and maintenance of the network and eliminate indebtedness of MMDAs since most of its revenues would be collected upfront.”
“Furthermore, taking into consideration the number of the new thermal plants to be commissioned, coupled with the diminishing role of hydro in the power generation mix, Government intends to position ECG to effectively collect its bills from customers timely, and therefore the need for this project.”
Once the contract is approved by Cabinet and Parliament, the Government will then enter into an on lending agreement with the Electricity Company of Ghana to establish an escrow account into which an agreed percentage of revenues will be lodged for the purpose of debt service payment.
Surprisingly, the president a fortnight ago, summoned all the players in the power sector (PURC), Energy Commission, Ministry of Power, ECG) to a crisis meeting to find a solution to the problem.
The said meeting was triggered by concerns raised on the floor of Parliament by members from both sides who called on the Speaker to summon the power Minister to brief them over the issue.
Source: The Chronicle.