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Opinions Wed, 8 Jun 2016

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ECG billing system: Let the truth be told

The confusion over what has accounted for the outrageous billing system at the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) cannot be ignored.

It is symptomatic of a haphazard management of a government unable to decrypt a conundrum it created through incompetence. Now the monster it has nurtured stands at the entrance, ready to devour it.

The ECG has-for the first time-since the establishment of the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) as regulators for the utility providers, called the bluff of the Commission; a brawl which is now in the public domain.

As a regulator mandated by law, to ensure judicious billing of the consumer -while simultaneously ensuring that the companies providing the services are not stifled to a state of inefficiency, it thus represents government.

ECG’s reaction to the diktat regarding the killer tariff is for us the direction of a message to the government through the PURC: if you want to send a message to God, pass it through the wind, it is said.

Matters have, without doubt, reached a head and state institutions can go on air and expose their inefficiencies. They can no longer, it would appear, continue to be silent as politicians push them about.

A resolution of the impasse over the bills is far from over, in the face of the raging confusion. It hurts to think that an important service such as the provision and supply of electricity would be subjected to such gymnastics.

As we observed in a previous commentary on the subject, the government is fighting hard to exonerate itself from the bills as it lurks in the shadows.

We did recall President John Mahama’s remark that if his compatriots want to enjoy electricity, they must be ready to part with money; substantial one of course. If this does not suggest something beyond the ordinary Ghanaian, we do not know what else does.

From the outburst of the Public Utilities Workers Union (PUWU), we are beginning to understand the truth of the matter and wish to point out that there is mammoth deceit at the highest level of government in this matter.

Government, which wants to be taken seriously, must avoid deceit in its dealings with the citizenry. Resorting to deliberately hitting heads against one another (which is what the government has succeeded in doing) does not inure to the interest of the nation.

The PURC has feigned ignorance about the press conference held by the utility, calling its bluff.

The press conference was held to send a message to the PURC that its diktat or ultimatum would not be respected.

The ECG, by this position, is not ready to bring sense into the billing system; rubbishing the PURC explanation that the skyrocketed tariffs are attributable to a rogue software.

The truth is that the unbearable tariffs are the outcome of the new found taxes heaped on the utilities by a government unable to find a way out of its economic predicament. Period!

Columnist: Daily Guide

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