The Accra West Region Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), has lost close to GH¢4 million over the past nine months of 2021 through illegal power connections alone.
Illegal connection activities robbed the company of some 3.9 million kilowatts per hour (3.9mkWh) of power between January and September 2021, resulting in a revenue loss of GH¢3.9 million to the company within the period.
This was disclosed by Dr Mark Owusu Ansah, the Regional Revenue Protection Manager, Accra West Region ECG, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-line of mass revenue mobilisation and disconnection exercise carried out in Achimota and its environs in Accra.
The exercise, organised by the management of the ECG across the country, was to help the company retrieve debts owed by customers to enable it to enhance its operations.
Dr Ansah said the region also recorded a similar amount in 2020 under similar circumstances, a situation he bemoaned was crippling the operations of the company both in the region and nationwide.
He said: “The last year 2020, from January to December, Accra West Region alone, we found out four million kWh of power that was going waste. That was even what we were able to detect, 4m/kwh within one region within a year, and there were others that we could not detect. So, if what we detected amounted to 4m/kwh then you can imagine those we could not even identify.”
“This year 2021, the year has not ended but from January to September, the illegal connections that we have been able to identify is 3.9m/kwh. When you convert it to monetary terms is GH¢3.9 million.
“These illegal connections hurt us seriously in terms of revenue. You know, we purchase the power from our suppliers and we distribute to our customers for profit. Everybody does business for profit but in our case, we pay to our suppliers but when it gets to our customers, they want to find means to use the power free, which is creating losses,” he added.
Dr Owusu, however, explained that some progress had been made to retrieve all revenues lost due to illegal connections.
It is estimated that the energy sector loses about 31 per cent annually through numerous illegalities.
Dr Ansah, however, explained that out of the GH¢3.8 million loss incurred in 2020, GH¢2.4 million had been retrieved from offenders after they were identified and surcharged, adding that some GH¢2.2 million of revenue lost this year had also been recovered.
He urged the public to assist the company with information if they detect such illegalities in their communities to enable it to take action.
Mr Emmanuel Ankrah, Acting General Manager, Accra West Region of ECG, said illegal connections were not only depriving the company of revenues but also causing major damages to assets, including transformers, as well as unplanned light outs in some communities.
“This is a very serious issue because we know the expected load for any transformer for a community, but the illegal connections do not pass through our office and so we are unable to detect, thereby causing an overload, causing damages to the transformers and unnecessary outages,” he explained.
Mr Ankrah said the exercise, therefore, was not only to mobilise revenue but to sensitise customers of the negative impact such illegal activities had on the operations of the company.
He reiterated the company’s resolve to put in place robust measures to seal all revenue leakages to enable it to sustain its operations.
“We urge the public to notify us when they notice any illegal connections in their communities and they will be rewarded with six per cent of whatever amount is retrieved as an incentive,” he said.
The Accra West Region comprises eight districts namely; Ablekuma, Bortianor, Achimota, Dansoman, Korle-Bu, Nsawam, Kaneshie and Amasaman.
In September this year, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Energy Minister, commissioned a Revenue Mobilisation Taskforce to address the incessant losses recorded in the sector.