Business & Markets

Parliament probes errors in electricity bills

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, has directed the House’s Committee on Mines and Energy to step up efforts in probing the over billing of electricity tariff which has resulted in chaos in communities where the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has installed new pre-paid meters.

The directive follows complaints by Members of the House over the challenges consumers are going through as a result of the errors associated with the billing of the pre-paid meters.

Majority Chief Whip, Hon. Muhammed Mubarak Muntaka who raised the issue told the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho that the situation is so alarming that in some cases the cost of consumption has almost doubled, thereby, imposing severe hardship on the ordinary Ghanaian.

According to him, although some individuals who reported the anomaly to the ECG have been attended to and the errors in the billing corrected, the overbilling still persists among majority of Ghanaians.

“The overall effect of this is that the effort of President John Dramani Mahama to permanently solve the long-standing power crisis is severely being undermined and the crisis in the supply of electricity is being deepened”, he noted in an urgent stated delivered on the floor of the House, Tuesday.

The former Youth & Sports Minister attributed the cause of the anomaly to administrative lapses due to poor supervision of technical ECG officers by their superiors; over estimation of bills by consumers on post-paid meters; and deliberate effort by some unscrupulous ECG officials to take advantage of the new billing arrangements for personal gains.

He however, urged the Speaker to invite the Minister of Power to brief Parliament on concrete steps he intends to take prevent the recurrence of overbilling the pre-paid meters.

Altai Muntaka also wants the ECG to take immediate steps to correct the technical errors associated with the meters.

That aside, he wants the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to collaborate with the ECG to review the fault and restore the life-line state for the under-privileged.

He also urged the ECG to give individual household a meter instead of a compound house with a meter or two which does not benefit from the lifeline subsidy for the poor.

The Majority Chief Whip also wants the ECG to make arrangements to either refund the excess payment or credit the accounts of consumers so affected.

MP for Dormaa Central, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu contributing to the discussion told the House that the situation demands urgent attention because of its heavy toll on businesses.

“We all want electricity bills to come down. Things that we are hearing are not very good. This hotel in Koforidua, electricity bill for one month amounted to GH₵500,000.00.  The owner called and told me that he wants to sack some of his employeers because he can no longer pay electricity bills  and still keep the number of employees at his disposal. Now he has adopted a strategy – he will put on his generator during the day and move on the national grid in the night in an effort to cut down cost”, he noted.

Speaker, Rt. Hon. Adjaho, having listened to the discussions on the subject matter directed that the Committee on Mines and Energy which has already started some work in that regard continue with their work and submit their report to the House accordingly.

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