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General News
High electricity tariffs bite hard 3/3/2008

The Gye Nyame Concord says in the face of widespread complaints that current electricity tariff increases are over 100 percent instead of the announced 35 percent when cross-checked against current electricity bills, hundreds of customers of the newly installed pre-paid metres have also started complaining.

While some have complained of the frustrations they face in buying electricity units, many have been besieging various offices of the Electricity Company Of Ghana (ECG) across Accra, particularly the Customer Service Centre of the Accra West District of the ECG, to ascertain from the pre-paid operators how and which way the new machines operate for residential and non-residential users.

As early as 8am, many enraged customers are seen roaming the offices of the ECG for the company to critically explain issues surrounding the installation, usage and operations of the new prepaid metres currently being installed across some parts of Accra, to them.

Last week, reporters of the Gye Nyame Concord, saw many enraged customers scattered all over various ECG offices from Osu to Darkuman, debating and shouting on top of their voices over how their businesses have been affected by these new installation due to how it works, charges attached and comparing it with the old meter.

For many, the old metering system is best.

An irate customer, Jane Akosua Amankwah, who spoke to the Concord at the Industrial Area offices of the ECG last week said “we are not against the new installed pre-paid metres. Our worry is how these metres work and their rudiments of operations. At times my machine will read slowly which is good, but at times it reads so fast I just can’t understand. At least it must be consistent in its reading operations”, she said.

“In fact who are these white Asians and Ghanaians who come to our shops to inspect the machine and they don’t tell us what they are doing. It might look technical but let me know so that I know what is going on” another customer who runs a shop not far from the ECG offices and was unwilling to state her name, quickly added.

Some of the customers who ignorantly referred to the pre-paid metres as “Kufuor Machines” stated that the metre generally was ineffective and inefficient with respect to working with it, since independent reading is difficult making it very hard to figure out the exact amount one wants to buy to use.

“I am seriously confused with the sort of receipts issued after you purchase any unit and what it contains. Please, as you are questioning me, if I show you this and ask you to explain can you? What’s all these, ‘Receipt Code, User ID, Geo Code, Meter number, Vending, Vs code, User Name, Tariff Code, Activity Code, Operator Code‘ etc? We need to know the meaning to help us make meaningful decisions on what and how much units to buy”, said another furious customer.

“Why will they have or tell us to be reporting on issues like negative adjustments and the fluctuating charge fixings? What do they mean by those statements? They should tell us what those statements means because myself I am confused”, a customer stated.

But some were quick to add that the prepaid metres were good but had some deficiencies which must be corrected.

“For me it has rotated my usage behaviour and I am spending less on energy now. Maybe some form of education, I mean intensive one, must be started”, the lady added.

Contacted, the District Manager of ECG Accra West, Mr. David Asamoah, an electric engineer by profession, explained that while he believes most of the complaints are genuine, they can be attributed to customers who through dubious means contract unqualified electricians and contractors who don’t professionally wire their various homes.

“First, the new pre-paid system is the same and I can say they are more effective than the old metres. It is very sensitive to the earth system, basically protecting one’s appliances and all electric gadgets.”

Mr. Asamoah said when one has no proper earthling system, the prepaid machine will surely go against the user since the new prepaid system recognizes good and proper earthling systems.

 
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