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General News Fri, 9 May 2003

ECG to undergo major changes to enhance efficiency

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is to undergo major changes to enhance operational efficiency and service delivery, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Minister of Energy, said on Thursday.

The changes, which he said, had received the highest priority from the Ministry, are aimed at reducing technical losses.

The Energy Minister, on his maiden visit to interact with the Management, Regional Directors and Staff, said the ECG would work under a separate Holding Company to handle the Northern and Southern Sectors.

"Decisions on these had already been taken by the government, what is left at the moment is the implementation."

Dr Nduom said the problem with ECG had to do with management and not funding because government had supported the company over the years adding that the Management must live up to their responsibility to deliver.

He said government had sourced for funding amounting to between 13 million dollars to 15 million dollars to be given to the ECG adding that government was discussing how to shorten the procurement period for the money to come in quickly.

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Dr Nduom said the money would be used to purchase additional thermal plants and prepaid meters to service specific geographical areas including Accra and Kumasi for improved customer service.

He said customers had paid high tariffs without any option yet the services provided were not satisfactory and power supply was not reliable adding that there were too many complaints from customers for which the ECG must sit up.

"There is nobody to provide answers to the problems of customers on timely basis and not one single area can boast of a satisfactory service by the ECG".

Dr Nduom said these projects would be implemented within 12 months.

"My support would go as far as I can see you are delivering good services to the customers'' adding, "remuneration comes with efficiency, hard work and better service delivery".

Mr Fred Asante, Managing Director of ECG, said measures the Company had taken to improve customer service included the opening of more bill paying and complaint centres.

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He said the Company had installed about 50,000 prepaid meters in the system and had plans to install about 100,000 by the end of the year.

Mr Asante said the ECG had about one million customers adding that it would install about 600,000 more prepaid meters within the next five years.

He said lack of computers had made the work of the company more difficult and called for government support in that area.

During an open forum, the staff appealed to the Minister to help to curb the interference by politicians in the performance of their duties, especially those among them, who make telephone calls to plead on behalf of customers, whose services were disconnected for non-payment of bills.

Source: GNA