The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) will begin the installation of prepaid meters in the official residences of all ministers and other government appointees next Monday.
“We had the letter on Friday, October 11, and we started collecting data on such bungalows throughout the country from Monday, October 14. From tomorrow onwards, we will know the numbers and then go and assess them because we’ll have different meters for all the bungalows. While some will be on single phase, others will be on three phases,” Mr William Boateng, the Public Relations Officer of the ECG, told the Daily Graphic on Monday.
The ECG’s move to replace postpaid meters with prepaid ones is in response to President John Mahama’s directive that all official residences of all ministers and presidential staffers should have prepaid meters.
The directive, Mr Boateng said, was being carried out by ECG’s field engineers who were currently accessing the needs.
“In some of the bungalows, we have to help rewire the links. We will do that because sometimes the meters are far beyond reach. We would have to make room for easy accessibility to slot in cards,” he said.
According to a statement issued by the Presidency, there was some confusion in the policy covering the payment of utility bills by ministers.
While utility bills of some ministers are being paid by their sector ministries, other ministers are paying the bills themselves.
As part of the President’s directive, arrears of bills prior to the appointee moving into residence would be debited to the various ministries before the prepaid meters are installed.
If fully implemented, the decision is expected to reduce the government’s indebtedness to the ECG, which runs into millions of cedis.
That aside, Mr Boateng said, the move would ensure that “we have our money upfront and cut down the time it takes to collect the tariffs”.
This is not the first time the President has issued a directive for the installation of prepaid meters in state-owned facilities.
In 2010, Mr Mahama, then as Vice-President, directed the ECG to fix prepaid meters in all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to curb the abuse of electricity consumption at the MDA’s while the government took the necessary action to clear its huge indebtedness to the ECG.
Three years down the lane, Mr Boateng said 85 per cent of the MDAs had been fixed with such meters, with the remaining being mainly educational, health and security institutions.
The exercise was fiercely resisted by some of MDAs, but the ECG insisted on doing so. It had installed 900 meters as of January, this year.