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General News Sun, 26 May 2019

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Odumase Krobo: Tension heightens over delay in restoring power

Anger is building up again at Manya Kpongunor near Odumase Krobo in the Lower Manya Municipality over undue delay by Power Distribution Services (PDS) to restore electricity supply to the community, five days after it switched off transformers in the area and took away the fuses.

It is not clear why PDS had not restored power to the community having reportedly reconnected all other communities plunged into darkness on Wednesday, May 22 following deadly clashes between police and residents there after attacks on PDS staff.

Assembly Member for the area, Joseph Adeti told Starr News efforts to get management of PDS to restore power to the community is not yielding result. He said PDS officials in the District said they were waiting for orders from above before they could restore power to the community.

Adeti said tensions are heightening in the community and the continuous power outage in the area could spark another violence in the already volatile environment.

“I have even run away from the house due to the anger of the youth. I have been going up and down to the PDS office but according to the manager he is waiting for instruction from above before he can restore power to the community,” he said.

The Divisional Chief of Piengua traditional council, Nene Tetteh Zogli III on Friday held a press conference at his palace in Kpongunor, saying his people were running out of patience as PDS continues to deny them power despite directive by the Public Utility Regulations Commission (PURC) for it to be restored.

PDS restored power supply to the affected communities Friday evening except Kpongunor following agreement reached in a meeting facilitated by the Member of Parliament for Lower Manya Krobo, Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi and mediated by PURC, PDS Tema Region General Manager and staff, and six Assembly Members from the troubled communities.

As part of the roadmap drawn, PDS was to restore all transformers within the shortest time in consultation with senior authorities if the peace and security of the staff are guaranteed.

Residents say the power cut to the area is affecting households and businesses particularly cold store operators.

Genesis of the outages

Angry youth of Kpongunor organized a spontaneous protest to petition the Municipal Chief Executive for the Area, Kwaku Simon Tetteh, on their concerns on overbilling by PDS and its ongoing mass disconnection exercise.

They had earlier in the morning of the fateful day, Wednesday, May 22 mounted roadblocks and pelted the PDS staff with stones and sticks at Yohe, a community near Odumase Krobo when they went to the community to discontinue its mass disconnection exercise.

The irate youth smashed a PDS Nissan Pick Up with Registration Number GV 2318-1 and it took the intervention of armed police personnel to rescue the PDS staff.

The PDS staff decided to switch off the transformers cutting off the power supply to many communities.



Shortly after the attack, the angry youth mobilized to embark on a protest to petition the MCE but the armed Police rushed to protect the Municipal Assembly Office by preventing the youth from entering the premises.

This led to clashes between the youth and the Police. Many warnings shots were fired to disperse the youth who were also attacking the Police with stones and other implements. The arrival of the reinforcement team from the Regional Police Headquarters saw brute force and indiscriminate discharge of firearms leading to the death of a 24-year-old young man while seven persons including a final Year JHS student shot in the leg while returning from market.

Thirty-five persons were arrested during the riot.

Injuries amidst warning shots

Three people were injured after a similar chaos Monday at Manya Kpongunor over mass disconnection exercise by Power Distribution Services (PDS).

Reports indicated that the Police reinforcement team fired tear gas after they were attacked by the youth.

PDS was embarking on a mass disconnection exercise with armed Police personnel in Somanya, Odumase Krobo and its environs.

The exercise dubbed “Revenue Mobilization” according to Somanya District Manager of PDS Ing. Edward Ochire has become necessary due to the failure of many residents to pay their electricity bills since 2017. A situation he said has led to revenue shortfalls of the company.

Hundreds of houses have been disconnected in the ongoing exercise which started May 13, 2019, from Kpong and Nuaso communities.

One person was put behind bars for attempting to resist disconnection of his house. Since the exercise began, many of the affected residents have been trooping to the offices of PDS to pay their accumulated bills ranging between Ghc3, 000 and Ghc 20,000

There has been a long-standing feud between residents and workers of ECG now PDS. In 2017, angry residents in Somanya attacked PDS office for overbilling.

Police vehicles were torched and properties destroyed in the violent attacks. Many residents have since refused to pay electricity bills and have threatened to attack PDS staff who attempt disconnecting their homes.

Source: Starr FM

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