Business News of Friday, 13 February 2015
The worsening power crisis has deepened the financial paralysis of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), as customers who owe and are being disconnected are not bothered about settling their bills.
An insider source indicates that because of the acute lack of power, customers who otherwise would have rushed to settle their bills rather scoff and shrug it off when they are disconnected.
“If this dumsor continues till the end of the year, ECG will collapse. The company will not have money to pay salaries of its staff let alone do any other thing,” the source said.
“I mean, these days when people are disconnected they do not care at all. They insult and ask why they should be bothered when they do not have power in the first place,” the source said.
Both public and private institutions and individuals are said to owe the ECG in the region of GH?500million in accumulated debt.
Major power generator Volta River Authority has also said the ECG owes it in excess of GH?1billion, which is making it difficult for it to purchase crude oil for powering thermal plants.
Independent Power Producer SunonAsogli is also said to owe VRA close to US$130million for gas supplies, and the company is unable to pay because “the ECG owes them far more than they owe the VRA. The ECG owes the VRA and other independent power producers (IPPs) even bigger sums of money”.
The Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, has said in recent times that the ECG has to be saved from the jaws of indebtedness.
“We are on the brink of collapse if we do not have cash a infusion, and yet we are owed hundreds of millions of cedis. This, ladies and gentlemen, cannot and must not be allowed to continue,” he said.
“As a nation, we cannot afford to let this valuable asset we call ECG collapse. It would be most irresponsible of us and we will not allow that. The management and board are determined that, going forward, we’ll have a lean, efficient, commercially sensitive and aware operation that will ensure the organisation’s survival,” he promised.
Although it has been criticised by sections of the public, the minister has had to establish a committee to collect monies owed the company by various institutions and individuals.
“On the back of this, today as the minister responsible for the sector, I put the weight of officialdom behind ECG to collect not only current bills but accumulated debts,” the minister said at a public event.