Health and educational institutions have been exempted from using prepaid metres because of their strategic importance, a directive from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MOEP) has stated.
However, the directive said staff bungalows and all commercial facilities in educational institutions and other government institutions be captured under the prepaid metering system.
The directive follows a decision by the Cabinet on June 6, 2013, to the Ministry of Energy to hasten slowly with the application of the prepaid metering system in respect of educational institutions, security agencies and other sensitive national installations.
Consequently, the ministry has directed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company Limited (NEDCo) to exempt health and educational institutions from the ongoing exercise which seeks to migrate ministries and government agencies (MMDAs) onto the prepaid metering system.
The decision by the Ministry of Energy to migrate MMDAs onto the prepaid metering system is intended to curtail abuse and avoid wastage in the system, while reducing its huge indebtedness to the ECG.
A letter signed by the Minister of Energy, Mr Armah-Kofi Buah, and copied to the Managing Director of ECG and NEDCo said the directive was to afford the ministry the opportunity to consider the decision for the long term.
President John Mahama had in the past argued that the installation of the prepaid metres in the MMDAs would make civil servants more attuned to conservation methods.
That, he said, would ensure that MMDAs stayed within their budget limits as far as electricity consumption was concerned.
The ECG, which is grappling with the collection of huge indebtedness on the part of government and consumers, has recently advocated marginal increase in tariffs.
But some consumers and stakeholders are of the view that the company’s increasing debt portfolio stems from its operational inefficiency.
In a reaction to the turn of events, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, Dr John Koku Awoonor-Williams, said the directorate was extremely excited, reports Benjamin Xornam Glover.
He noted that the temporary amnesty on the installation of prepaid meters at health facilities in the region had been a blessing, since they woud now be in a position to function unhindered.
According to Dr Awoonor-Williams, major facilities such as the Bongo Hospital and the Regional Medical Stores at Zuarungu, which were severely affected, have had their prepaid metering system reversed to post-paid while smaller health facilities in other parts of the region are awaiting the arrival of personnel of the power services providers to have the system reversed.