Illegal power connections, bane of electricity distribution

General News of Friday, 6 March 2015

Source: Graphic Online

Power Street Light

Illegal power connections continue to be a bane of the distribution system of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

The General Manager of the ECG Training Centre, Mr George Yaw Marfo, who made the complaint, said the absence of an automated system to identify illegal connections also made it difficult for the problem to be dealt with.

He was addressing the closing session of a five-day capacity-building workshop for 20 engineers of the ECG in Tema last Wednesday.

Under the auspices of the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JiCA), the workshop sought to improve the capacity of the participants in the areas of power system and control, distribution plan, maintenance techniques for power equipment and for them to also serve as trainer-of-trainers of technical teams for Liberia, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

The three countries which have been identified as lacking the necessary human resource in their power and energy sectors, often relied on the ECG to provide such technical support.

According to Mr Marfo, while it was necessary for the ECG to periodically conduct a system audit to identify illegal connections, the company was unable to do so automatically due to the minimal capacity of its supervisory control and data acquisition security system (SCADA).

“In many instances where we have to rely on the manual way of auditing by visiting communities, offenders often outwitted officials by terminating such connections as soon as information about the exercise spread.

“Until we are able to totally automate such processes to be able to detect such connections when they are in motion, incidents of power thefts would be on the surge”, he added.

The Project Coordinator at JiCA, Mr Ritsuko Kawabe, reiterated that promoting an improvement and modernisation in the power distribution system could drastically reduce power loss rate from 25 per cent to 18 per cent.