Divisional Chief of Dorm in the Manya Krobo Traditional Area of the Eastern Region, Nene Bediako Baah Muala III and residents of Kpongunor have rejected plans by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to deploy the prepaid metering system to the Yilo and Manya Krobo municipalities.
The ECG on Tuesday, December 21 began a comprehensive meter reading, pre-installation survey and checking of illegal connections in the two municipalities intended to assist the Company to generate the monthly bills of its customers in the area following years of irregular meter reading and distribution of bills occasioned by the current impasse between the Company and its customers over the past four years.
But the residents who say the Company is welcome to the area to conduct its activities however disagreed with the intended deployment of the new meters.
According to them, the move would not only unduly serve as a financial burden on the customers of the Company who may not be in the position to afford the prepaid cards when they run out of units but also a ploy by the power distributors to retrieve debt owed the Company.
Nene Bediako in an interview with GhanaWeb on behalf of his 19 sub-chiefs while commending the Company on the meter reading exercise and checking of illegal connections, offered to provide maximum protection and security for the ECG team.
He however sharply disagreed with the company’s intentions of fixing pre-paid meters in the Krobo area and urged them to stick to the postpaid metering system. “The facilities for the implementation of the pre-paid meters are not on the ground. This is a low income-earning place and if you introduce the pre-paid meters, it would be difficult for people to buy pre-paid at the middle of the month when cutlass and hoe businesses have not earned [them[ any money,” argued the divisional chief.
Residents of the area who spoke in an interview with GhanaWeb expressed similar views. Tettey Ebenezer who was obviously unhappy with the pre-installation exercise complained about the failure of the ECG to solve existing differences with the people before going ahead with its plans
“The overbilling, since the ECG came to Kroboland, we’ve been paying bills so we’re not saying that we’re not going to pay bills but what we are saying is that the overbilling is there, the old bills need to be cleared off,” he said.
He added, “If they install the pre-paid meters, they’ll find a way of taking all those debts so that is why we’re saying we don’t want the pre-paid meters.”
They also argue that the ECG has failed to compensate its people who were killed and maimed during the 2018 protests against the MCE for Lower Manya Krobo.
A victim of the 2019 shootings, Kortey Tetteh Felix also disagreed with the deployment of the meters
“You shot me which has incapacitated me and you want to come and replace my post-paid meter with pre-paid meter while I am not working, what work am I going to do to enable me get money to buy the pre-paid cards?” he queried.
According to him, the Company must duly compensate the victims of the incident to assuage their pains.
Managing Director (MD) for the ECG, Mr Kwame Agyemang-Budu in response, explained that the prepaid metering system is not only being deployed in Kroboland but a national policy being rolled out by the Company and called on the customers to exercise the judicious use of the cards to save them money.
Kpongunor remains a flashpoint in the Krobo, ECG impasse with hundreds of its people clashing with police in 2019, leading to the death of one person and seven injuries.