Armed police personnel are providing security for personnel of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) in the Krobo District of the Tema Region to read meters, check illegal connections, and undertake a pre-installation survey.
The pre-installation survey precedes the installation of prepaid meters which is in the offing.
The company has about 60,000 customers within the Krobo district who mainly use post-paid meters.
The team, drawn from ECG head office, Tema and Krobo district and led by District Manager, Edward Ochire on Tuesday commenced the exercise at Kpong and will be extended to other parts of the district as the days wear on.
Day one and two of the exercise saw no resistance from residents despite initial fear of possible attacks.
Tema Regional Public Relations Officer for ECG, Sakyiwaa Mensah, told JoyNews the exercise demands cooperation on the part of the customers.
“We had teams of staff visiting various customers which remains an important aspect of our job as it will help us generate bills for the customers.
“The staff can be identified by their ID cards and ECG reflector vest. Customers must allow access to their meters which is very critical and doing otherwise is grave offense,” she stated.
Over the last few years, residents of both Yilo and Manya Krobo municipalities have drummed home concerns over what they described as estimated bills, accumulated bills, lack of meter reading cards among other non-billing issues.
This resulted in a violent demonstration in May, 2017, leading to some casualties and vandalising of ECG’s Krobo district office at Somanya at the time.
The company admitted challenges regarding the installation of Customer Management System( CMS) which replaced Customer Billing Information System (CBIS) resulting in billing anomalies among other issues.
Various stakeholder engagements had since taken place agreeing on a roadmap to resolve all the issues but these were, however, not enough to calm some agitating residents.
ECG earlier this month closed its district office at Somanya and subsequently withdrew services following threats on the lives of staff in November which was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
The area was plunged into total darkness for several days due to technical challenges but residents had to fall on ECG to restore power in the end.
With the intervention of some authorities and assurance from youth groups, ECG is back to the area to undertake official duties but is leaving nothing to chance.
The move is seen as a step in bringing back the warm relationship between the company and residents which has turned hostile.
Residents at Kpong have indicated readiness to cooperate with ECG following the meter reading exercise.
A resident, Felix Ankomah, who is into phones and accessories said he is ready to pay provided the generated bills which are reasonable.
For Fati Yusif, a convenience store owner, she will gleefully pay once the bill is issued on regular basis but things may go south when there is accumulation.
Joy News received similar feedback from other residents who are happy the power distributor is in to perform such functions.
National Commission for Civic Education was on hand to sensitize the residents.
The armed police will continue to protect the ECG staff until the security situation in the area improves.