ECG offices under siege

The scramble to take advantage of the reduced tariff on electricity consumption has led to major queues in many of the vending centres.

The centres were inundated with customers such that the vendors started experiencing network challenges.

At the time The Ghanaian Times visited some of these centres around 4 p.m., many customers could be seen standing in long queues with some claiming to have been there as early as 6am.

Some customers of ECG in a queue  to buy credit at Kaneshie Social Welfare. Photo.Ebo Gorman

• Some customers of ECG in a queue waiting to buy credit at Kaneshie Social Welfare. Photo: Ebo Gorman

The government and Organised Labour reached an agreement last Wednesday in which the recent 59.2 per cent hike in electricity tariff would be reduced to 45 per cent and 50 per cent for lifeline consumers and vulnerable groups respectively.

The relief, provided by the government, was to cushion workers against the hikes such that those who consume between 0-50 units band would be affected by a 45 percent while those who consume between 57-300 units band would be affected by a 50 per cent increase.

The agreement, which was reached at the Joint Negotiation Committee meeting between the government, Organised Labour Ghana Employers Association (GFA) and Association of Ghana Industries (AGM) took effect yesterday.

Thus, many consumers, apparently in a bid to take advantage of the situation to determine their unit consumption per the current tariff, created a massive turn-out at the vending stations.

Ms. Dorothy Mensah, the vendor at Equity Link at Bubuashie expressed her frustration at the turn of events.

She said with the presence of many customers, it was very frustrating to have such a challenge from the network system.

A customer described the situation as disappointing since he had moved from place to place to locate a service centre which was not having a similar problem, only to meet a queue everywhere.

The development was no different at Kaneshie Social Welfare Centre, where many people had also queued to be served with pre-paid units.

Ms. Adriana Gardiner, a vendor said they placed calls for technicians to come to their aid only for one of the superior officers to tell them to hold on as the problem ‘might be as a result of the harmattan weather condition’.

She said sometimes, the network would come on for a longer period for some customers to be served only to disengage to the frustration of all.

Many of the customers expressed their willingness to wait until they were served.

Anita Nyarko-Yirenkyi reports from the Zongo Junction Revenue collection office of ECG that many customers who trooped to the office to purchase pre-paid units were disappointed.

When The Ghanaian Times got to the scene, more than 80 customers were in long queues with some of them furious about the situation.

A customer, George Owiredu Abankwah, who spoke to The   Ghanaian Times said he had been at the office since 10am and had not yet been served as at 4pm.

“My lights went off on Sunday evening and I have come to the office to buy credits but there was a long queue.

Mr. Abankwah said as early as 6am, he went to the Mamprobi, Accra Central and Korle Bu offices to purchase the credits but the long queue discouraged him and he came to the Zongo office, where the situation was worse.

Mr. Abankwah said enquiries from the staff indicated that the system was slow and was affecting the situation.

Another customer, Auntie Mercy, told the Times that she had been in the queue since 11:30am.

According to her, she had to leave her trading business to come and purchase the credits for both shop and home.

She called on authorities to address the problem, noting that the situation was affecting businesses and public servants.

Touching on the recent reduction in utility tariff by two to four per cent, she said the percentage reduction was meagre.

A cashier at the office, Ms. Comfort Awortwe told The Ghanaian Times that the problem was as a result of network challenges.

Ms. Awortwe said only two cashiers at the office were serving over hundred customers in queue, adding that it took about 15 to 20 minutes to serve a customer.

She said people usually buy the credits at the beginning of the month which resulted in the rush at the offices.

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