Power transmission and distribution companies in the country must deploy technology to address the growing power theft in the country, Senior Presidential Advisor, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, has said.
“Distribution losses through power theft is a major headache and it is contributing to the high tariffs we are seeing,” he said in an interview with the media on the sidelines of the Ghana Economic Forum held in Accra.
He said the Electricity Company of Ghana and companies responsible for transmitting and selling power should deploy systems that would make it difficult for consumers to steal power, saying “Technology exists to combat power theft”.
It is estimated that about a quarter (25 per cent) of power produced in the country is lost through illegal connection and theft.
This year’s GEF, the tenth in the series was on the theme Strengthening Homegrown Policies to Underpin the National Digitisation Drive and Shared Financial Prosperity.”
Organised by the Accra-based newspaper Business and Financial Times, it assembled a crop of experts to discuss and deliberate on pertinent socio-economic narratives.
Mr Osafo-Marfo, for example, said in Germany there were no cases of power theft because the power distribution companies had deployed technology to check illegal connection and power theft.
“You know why people cannot steal in Germany? When power is moving from A to B any interference within A to B will be detected immediately at a particular source. If you tap it illegally a signal will show somewhere so there is no way you can steal and get away with it. The system will catch you and so power distribution companies need to put in place technologies to make it difficult for people to steal power,” he said.
Mr Osafo-Marfo said a lot of people stole power and got away with it and that was the reason why the practice was continuing.
“The solution to the growing power theft is that the state should make it unattractive for anybody to steal power,” he said, adding that “when we talk about Ghana Beyond Aid this is something we should take serious as a country so that people would not enjoy cheating the system. If you consume power you must pay for it.”
Earlier opening the day-three programme of the GEF under the topic “Africa Energy Sector; Ensuring the Medium to Long-Term Sustainability of the West Africa Sub-region,” Mr Osafo-Marfo said the focus of the government was to promote energy security and competitive energy price to drive its industrialisation agenda.
“Energy is key to industrialisation. You cannot industrialise without energy that is the bottom line, without energy just like, the body can’t run without blood, to me the blood in industrialisation is energy, and, therefore you need to have energy but it’s not only energy, but energy at a competitive price,” Mr Osafo-Marfo, said.
With the implantation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, it was pertinent the country produce power at a very competitive price.
He said the pillars of the government energy strategic plan included security of power supply, competitive tariff, and universal access to electricity and reliable power supply.
Mr Osafo-Marfo said the country currently had excess power supply and it is after 2025 that the country would exhaust its excess power supply.
The Senior Presidential Advisor mentioned sole sourcing as one of the reasons of the high energy cost in the country.
BY KINGSLEY ASARE