“We Want the Cancellation of Electricity Bills from 2014-2016 – Krobo Youth Groups Tell ECG

The leadership of youth groups in the Krobo area have on Tuesday (Yesterday) told the Management of the Electricity company of Ghana to, among other demands, cancel all old debts owned them by citizens of the Krobo area between 2014 and 2016 since the delay to distribute the bills was the failure on the part of the ECG and not the Krobo residents.

The above was among two other conditions set out by the leadership of the Krobo youth groups___Kloma Hengme, United Krobo Force, Kloma Gbi___ to the ECG management at a stakeholder meeting held at the Yilo-Krobo Municipal Assembly Hall, Tuesday.

The Stakeholder Consultative meeting became necessary as a result of recent spontaneous uprising against the ECG in Somanya over issues such as over billing, estimated billing, accumulation of debts and alleged manipulation of meter billing systems by the ECG.

The meeting was to put heads together, find lasting solutions to the problems to avoid future occurence, and chat a common way forward to ensure cooperation between ECG and the people so that they can do their work peacefully. The ECG also took the opportunity to educate the youth leadership on the billing processes and other customer related issues. They also urged the leadership of the youth groups present to talk to residents to allow ECG staffs in their homes to read meters, rectify problems, and perform their duties in a safe manner.

But the youth groups in their joint statement said the ECG must meet their resolutions ”To pave way for total cooperation from the Krobo People”.

The General Secretary of Kloma Hengme; Eric Tamatey-Sikatse, who read the resolutions on behalf of the youth groups quoted LI 1816, Rule no 20, clause 8, of the regulations that govern the supply & Distribution of Electricity by the ECG to back their claims. This states that ”Where a Supplier fails to bill a customer for a period of 12 months, the supplier cannot recover the accrued cost of service unless the delay in the billing occurred (a) Without negligence on the part of the supplier (b) Due to customers actions. To this, the groups said since the ”delay” and ”failure” came from the end of the ECG, they must cancel the debts and allow customers to start paying from 2017.

On the Second resolution, the youth groups, said they demand that the ongoing case between ECG, the police and some leaders and people from Krobo area especially ”Dendenden” (Ebenezer Jones Adamptey); the Assembly man for the Sawer Electoral, should be withdrawn from the court and discontinued immediately.

The ECG management who came from both the Regional and District levels, said they will go back and discuss these resolutions at the national level and get back to the youth groups.

Below is a copy of the full resolution arrived at by the Krobo youth groups:

1. We demand the cancellation of electricity bills emanating from the period of 2014-2016. The electricity Supply and Distribution (Technical and Operational Rules) 2005 (LI 1816) Rule no.20 clause 8 on the issue and distribution of bills states that “Where a supplier fails to bill a customer for a period of twelve months, the supplier cannot recover the accrued cost of service unless the delay in the billing occurred (a) without negligence on the part of the supplier (b) due to customer’s actions”. Clearly the failure to distribute and give customers the bills was not due to a problem from the customers, but that of ECG. It was due to the non-monthly reading of customer meters by ECG that brought about the incidence of estimated billing of customers. You would also agree with us that when you don’t read the bills and unable to serve customers monthly bills, the readings on the meter goes up beyond the lower limit within which customers are charged a minimum rate and enters the upper limit whereby they are charged higher rates for every additional unit of power consumed. This also brought about the incidence of over-billing. It is on this note that we argue for a cancellation of bills from 2014 to 2016. Of course some people have already paid part or whole of this bill amount but we resolve that to get a lasting solution to the problems and peculiar situation customers in Yilo Krobo and Lower Manya Krobo find ourselves, 2014-2016 bills should be scrapped of so that customers can immediately begin the payment of bills for 2017.

2. We demand that the ongoing case between ECG, the Police and some leaders and people from the Krobo area notably Dendenden and other members of the United Krobo Force should be withdrawn and discontinued immediately. The attempt to make these individuals scapegoats is a clear slap on the entire community and our genuine demands we were making. We acknowledge that there was some violence and destruction of properties but that was not a deliberate act. For us to be able to cooperate and work together with maximum trust, this aforementioned case must be withdrawn immediately without any further delays.

3. We demand that the situation of discretionary, rampant and “abusive” manner in which field staffs of ECG disconnect customers should stop henceforth. We have been informed about how ECG staff harass customers, disconnect their meters and also sometimes remove and take away customers installed meters due to nonpayment of bills, something that was caused by the ECG themselves. There should be good and effective communication between the ECG and the Krobo people. The customer service staff at the ECG offices should be trained on how to handle customers with some level of respect and professionalism. This will also go a long way to improve customer satisfaction.

We the youth groups in the Krobo area notably United Krobo Force, Kloma Hengme and Kloma Gbi hereby resolve that the above conditions be met by ECG to pave way for total cooperation from the Krobo people.

Picture credit: Krobo Land

Source: Kloma Hengme

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