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Opinions Wed, 1 Jun 2011

Prepaid meter- a bane to the ordinary Ghanaian.

The prepaid meters replaced the postpaid meters in

Ghana in the year 2005 up to date, this is done to ensure efficiency in the

usage of electricity and also to reduce the cumbersome nature of the work of

the electricity personnel at Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

The electricity company of Ghana has enumerated

quite a number of advantages that are associated with the use of the prepaid

meters. Some of these advantages were stated by Mr. Fred ennison (spelling of

name stands for correction) of Electricity Company of Ghana in charge of the

prepaid meters, he stated that the prepaid meters are convenient to ECG and the

personnel because there is no need for the distribution of electricity bills to

various houses or residence. Also he stated that the use of the prepaid meters

will ensure that no bills are left by tenants for landlords when tenets are

ejected or they leave one compound to the another, Mr. Fred continued that the

prepaid meters has made things so easy to the extent that there will be no more

monthly bills charged on any user of electricity in this country. All these

advantages are well considered by the ordinary Ghanaian but the situation or

the usage of the prepaid meters has also brought numerous disadvantages that

far outweigh the advantages, these disadvantages were stated explained by

ordinary Ghanaians during data collection about the prepaid meters.

First, to the ordinary Ghanaian the prepaid meters

are very expensive. Here the ordinary Ghanaian means that the amount of money

that goes into these prepaid meters is more than the postpaid meters. a

statement made by civil servant was that the ordinary civil personnel receive

not more than three hundred Ghana cedis a month and with that amount of money

the ordinary Ghanaian spends about 25% on prepaid electricity alone. This gives

the understanding that the prepaid meters are expensive to operate in a country

like Ghana that is now developing. Another reason for it being expensive is the

fact the meters run very fast than the postpaid meters and for that reason one

need to buy as much as possible as directly related to the reading of the

meters.

Second, accessibility for the prepaid units is also

scarce for this reason people need to form queues at ECG offices throughout the

country in order to get some of the units. This problem of queues has put a lot

of workers into tights corners since they have to leave their offices with or

without permission to get some of this unit. Productivity in the private sector

is also reducing gradually because with most private sectors without

electricity production can proceed.

Technical faults with the meter are a crucial point

that can never be overlooked. The meters are so faulty to the extent that

people need to sleep in dark for months after struggling to get the unit. The

meters go off at any time, uploading of units onto the meter is also another

problem not forgetting the so called expiry date with the unit cards and the

remotes.

Also the problems that the ordinary Ghanaian faces

with the prepaid meter is all because the education the was suppose to be a

forerunner for the installment of the prepaid meters was not thorough or

enough, due to this operating of the meter by ordinary Ghanaians has never been

successful.

All these disadvantages can not be stated without

mentioning the behavior of the workers responsible fro seeing to the

installation, repairing and responding to the needs of the users of these

prepaid meters. The behavior of the workers is too awful that they give no

respect to any person in the process of responding to the needs of their

customers. They report to work late, and do not give any advice or education to

Ghanaians.

There is the existence of partiality in the

installation of these prepaid meters; this is because the vice president John

Mahama stated that there would be installation in all 4000 or more ministries,

government departments, and all governmental agencies throughout the country,

is this thing being done or has it been done.? Government indebtedness to the

ECG more than eighty million Ghana cedis (80000000) and yet nothing has been

done about it.

Mr. fred once said that as time goes on ghanians

would be abreast with the way the prepaid metrs work, I do not accept that

statement because Ghanaians can never be abreast with the faulty and burdened

prepaid meters.

Government need to do something about this for the

ordinary Ghanaian is suffering day in and day out. The government when taking

actions and making policies should have the ordinary Ghanaian who can not

afford a three square meal a day into consideration and stop burdening them.

Lamptey Alfred

Alfredlamptey88@yahoo.com

Columnist: Lamptey, Alfred