The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) has clamped downon 1,859 illegal power meters being used by urban residential customers within the Accra East region from January to August this year.
They are mostly meters which were deployed for the Self-Help Electrification Programme (SHEP), a community-driven electrification mechanism introduced in 1989 to drive electricity access in remote areas.
Mr Jonathan Asante, Commercial Manager of the Accra East Region ECG, said the incidence of the SHEP meters being used outside its designated locations had resulted in the increasing trend of illegal connections, especially in urban residential areas including Adenta, Kasoa, Legon and Madina.
Speaking in a meeting with Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCEs) in Accra yesterday, he noted that, the SHEP meters were considered illegal because they have not been processed to enable standardised readings and billings adding that their consumption was not captured in the grid system, leading to commercial losses to ECG.
To curtail the illegality, he said, the ECG had intensified house to house meter auditing and regular meter checks to do away with illegal meters and cautioned the public against the use of unauthorised meters.
“We are undertaking regular audits of all meter connections for our customers by the special taskforce and the visibility team. The Accra East region, as at August 2022, was averaging losses of about 30 per cent. Our officers are randomly visiting the premises of customers to check the integrity of our meters.
If you are caught engaging in illegal connection, you will be surcharged, published in the media and prosecuted which could lead to a jail time,” Mr Asante stated.
On other matters that required the support of the Assemblies, he expressed concern about vandalism, theft and damage of street lighting infrastructure and its components saying that such destruction had been enabled by vehicular accidents and haphazard excavation by third parties that damage underground cables.
He called on the MDCEs to partner the ECG to work in maintaining streetlights through the compilation of a credible streetlight data and invest in training electrical staff for installation and maintenance of streetlight.
Mr Asante further asked the Assemblies not to allow developments close to existing utility corridors adding that, all developments should be eight metres from the high tension line.
Also, he charged the Assemblies to include existing lines in their planning scheme and plans to prevent litigation and assist in engaging stakeholders who were affected by projects to avoid delays in implementation.
Mr Daniel Alexander Nii-NoiAdumuah, MunipalChief Executiveof Adentan, lamented over the installation of power meter on temporal structures in various communities saying it undermines effort by the local authorities to check illegal connections to utility providers.
He said collaboration was key in generating the needed data that would improve operations of the ECG as well as ensure enhanced revenue collection.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS