The Ashanti Business Unit of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service established the first-ever ECG-Police unit to expeditiously deal with debt collection and people who engage in illegalities.
With its permanent office at the Adum office of the ECG, the police unit has at least two armed police officers at a time and beefed up when the need arises to assist in revenue collection, reduce losses, improve efficiency, as well as arrest and prosecute offenders.
Briefing the Daily Graphic at its office in Kumasi, the Ashanti Regional Communications Manager of the ECG, Mr Erasmus Kyere Baidoo, said the company was determined to reduce the debt owed it and deter people from stealing power.
The unit is under the Revenue Protection Unit and has the full backing of the police administration and the courts.
Mr Baidoo recounted a recent operation that was undertaken by the company at Kokoben where about 17 domestic customers were arrested for owing the company over GH¢50,000 and engaging in illegal reconnection.
Ten of them, who were arrested by the Central Police in Kumasi, were arraigned before a law court.
The police unit, which will work in close collaboration with the prosecution unit of the ECG, is to facilitate the arrest and prosecution of customers who engage in illegal transfer of meters, meter tampering, meter reversal, illegal installation of meters and self-reconnection.
Others are bypassing of meters and installation of illegal meters to avoid paying debts on old meters and usage of meters not meant for the region.
Mr Baidoo said to forestall such recalcitrant customers from continuing to steal power, the Revenue Protection Unit, together with the police unit, would embark on an arrest of culprits after officers of the company had, through intelligence, identified such culprits.
“We will pursue all those engaged in illegal connection, stealing of power and introducing unknown meters into the system,” he added.
He explained that the company had devised means of detecting such people who had been stealing power and that all those engaged in such activities would be brought to book and made to pay the amount in addition to penalties.
Mr Baidoo stated that it had intensified the installation of the prepaid meters after installing over 100,000 as of March 2017.
He said contrary to initial misconception, customers using prepaid meters had expressed satisfaction with the system because it had saved them from the problem of disputed bills, non-delivery of bills, wrong readings of meters and payment into wrong accounts.
He added that the prepaid meters had also saved the ECG the agony of reading, printing, sending bills around and its associated problems.