The Western regional bureau of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is struggling to locate groups of registered small-scale miners who have bolted without paying their electricity bills and using substandard electrical materials that have caused damage to transformers costing more than GH¢715,000.
The Regional Engineer of the ECG, Mr Dan Acquah-Labi, during an interaction with clients on the Special Load Tariff (SLT) said out of the amount, GH¢315,000 accounted for debts owed the company by small-scale miners and GH¢400,000 for the blow up of 20 transformers occurring in the rural communities due to substandard materials.
Mr Acquah-Labi bemoaned the trend, which he said was costing the company huge sums of money, saying, “It is wrong to request power and after using it the client bolts without paying the accrued bills.” Avoiding payment
The regional engineer said small-scale miners and other smaller mining companies had also abandoned their accounts, which had huge debts to be settled.
The small-scale miners , he said conveniently relocated to other areas of operations without prior notice to the ECG to enable it retrieve the monies.
The ECG, he said, had recently started prosecuting the offenders, but it had become difficult since it did not know the new location of some of these companies and these miners.
Mr Acquah-Labi used the opportunity to assure their clients of their preparedness and commitment to distribute power to their various operation sites despite facing such major challenges.
Currently, investigations are ongoing and would soon zero-in on corporate entities, shops, and small-scale miners that had stopped operating to ensure that they settled their bills, he said. Damaged to transformers
One of the major challenges confronting the company, Mr Acquah-Labi said, include the use of substandard electrical materials used by unqualified electricians who are contracted by home and shop owners in the rural areas.
The focus of ECG, he said, was to ensure reliable and quality service to the customer, therefore, it was wrong for customers to engage the services of unqualified contractors which resulted in the damages to its transformers.
“When you do that and the transformers catch fire, you will not get power and it will affect your business nonetheless,” he stressed.
The engineer said apart from the 20 transformers in 2013, six transformers have been burnt as a result of power fluctuations resulting from these low grade wiring materials.” Steps by ECG
Mr Acquah-Labi implored companies and individuals to desist from using substandard electrical materials .
“It is not safe to use such products, most of the fire outbreaks that are linked to electrical faults occur when people use low quality wiring materials.”
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