Business News of 2013-12-03

ECG targets 15% system losses by 2018

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) says it is confident of reducing its system losses to 21 percent --the benchmark set by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) -- by close of next year.

ECG Managing Director William Hutton-Mensah, who was speaking at the West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC) in Accra, said the power company has been able to reduce its system losses by 5 percentage points in one and a half years.

System losses reduced from 27.2 percent in December 2011 to 22.48 percent in April 2013. This gain, the company said, was achieved through the introduction of multiple interventions including proper accounting and reporting procedures for street and public lights consumption.

“We are very confident and hopeful that next year we will reach the PURC benchmark. Within the next two years, our projection is that we should be able to get to 17 percent; then in the next five years, we’ll get to the international benchmark of 15 percent,” Mr. Hutton-Mensah said.

“It must be noted that a number of street and public lights were not metered; therefore consumption in the past was captured as part of system losses. By counting all the public and streetlights, ECG was able to calculate and confirm that the energy consumption of existing public lights is about 5% of total energy purchases, instead of 3% accounted for,” he added.

He said ECG has introduced an automated meter reading (AMR) system for its industrial customers that has enabled it to monitor customers’ real-time energy consumption.

“The company is also strengthening its Loss Control Unit (LCU) across all operational areas to unearth theft-related activities. The benefit is that more units of energy (which previously were included in system losses) are recovered, and billing is done according to retrieved funds belonging to ECG,” he added.

Apart from partnering the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General to establish the utility courts, ECG said its implementation of the System Losses Reduction Project in the Teshie District and Accra West District has been very successful.

“The company is still intensifying its efforts and is ready to explore new and challenging systems that will lead to more meaningful reductions in both technical and non-technical losses,” the MD said.

This year’s WAPIC, which was hosted and sponsored by the ECG, brought together experts from the sub-region to discuss how utility providers can further reduce system losses and boost revenue.