Beyond all the blame game, was PDS working?

PDS Logo Power Distribution Services

Tue, 3 Sep 2019 Source: Kobby Asmah

The Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited, formerly Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has been in the news for the wrong reason. The brand PDS seems to be under siege. A mere mention of the name PDS raises an eyebrow and sends tongues wagging in different directions.

The PDS for the past weeks has been accused of contractual breaches and is currently under suspension awaiting the outcome of an investigation.

But what is intriguing is that while PDS is being discussed negatively in the public sphere, it is still in operation and helping with the management of the country’s power distribution to the citizenry.

So if ECG needs PDS to help in the management of power distribution in the country, the plausible question to ask is, does it mean PDS was working reasonably well before it was found out to have been allegedly engaged in some contractual breach(es)?

The question I keep asking myself is that with the five months’ operations of the PDS, has the nation seen any improvement in the distribution of power? Did PDS do what it was tasked to do? Indeed, beyond all the ‘noise’, was PDS working at all?

Debt position

What is the debt position of PDS? I am aware that the debt position of the ECG in the last three years has been going up. This is because of inefficiency in debt collection among other factors.

Since PDS took over the reins of affairs, has the nation seen any outstanding improvement in the distribution of power and collection of monies owed and, more importantly, given the opportunity, could PDS retrieve debts in an efficient manner?

One other important question that should engage our attention is whether the frequent instances of power outages have improved over the period.

On the other hand also, we must do a realistic appraisal of how many times we have experienced power outages and stock must also be taken of any improvement in the duration of planned power outages.

Sober observations

Personally, I have endeavoured eliciting these answers from the service providers (PDS/ECG) but to no avail. However, in my mind’s view, to answer these questions fairly and correctly will require sober observations either to appreciate or write off the contribution of PDS in the whole distribution process.

I have observed that these days when there are even heavy storms or rains, the lights stay on. How is that possible.

It was not so in the past and we will need to know what interventions have been put in place to ensure that the lights stay on.

To drive efficiency

For PDS/ECG to drive efficency, there should be no favours or extension of favours. There must also not be any form of interference from external sources while cases of illegal connections are swiftly addressed. These can only be achieved with a proper private sector plan and drive.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has always insisted on that and he can only be commended for allowing 51 per cent of Ghanaians to run the process of managing the power services in the country.

I am happy to note that the interventions, with the help of Meralco Technical Team on the ground, and the efficiency and experience of the then ECG (now PDS) are adding up to ensure a stable power supply and distribution, as well as effective debt collection.

All in all, we are waiting for the outcome of the completed investigations and it is hoped that the issues will be resolved speedily and publicly to set the hearts and minds of Ghanaians at ease. All that the citizenry want is an uninterrupted power supply.

But more importantly, we must not, as a nation be easily swayed by trumped up partisan discussions that fail to address matters at the core. We must endeavour to always take a step back and do our own analysis in order to arrive at objective ends.

Columnist: Kobby Asmah
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