The American Embassy in Ghana has said that the failure of the Electricity Company of Ghana to furnish it with a bill for the past two years in spite of its willingness to pay demonstrates the inefficiencies in the operations of the company.
According to the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, his outfit has consistently appealed to the utility company to provide it with a bill for its power consumption over the period but that ECG has failed to do so.
But the Public Utility Workers’ Unions (PUWU) insist that the Embassy does not owe it.
The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko recently descended on the Electricity Company of Ghana over what he saw was rot in their system which allowed many to slip through without paying bills.
He noted that the American Embassy’s 160 facilities in Ghana had not been billed for two years.
“American Embassy has 160 facilities in Ghana. They have not been billed for two years. So they went to ECG and said ‘look, we owe you money. Bring us a bill. Bring us pre-paid meters. We will use it for one year, and whenever we use, we will multiply it by 3 and give it to you.’ Up to now, the ECG hasn’t been able to do that,” Mr. Agyarko said.
The Public Utilities Workers’ Union (PUWU) in a response to Mr. Agyarko challenged his statement and told him to stay away from such “minor” issues and focus on providing strategic directions for the company.
The US Embassy however in series of tweets confirmed the Minister’s statement and said that it had set some funds aside to make the payments but was awaiting an official bill from the ECG.
The General Secretary of PUWU, Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi in a subsequent Citi News interview denied the company was owed money by the Embassy.
He said the Embassy had made up-to-date payments for all its installations and his records show that even as at February 2017, they Embassy had paid its electricity bills.
But the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson told Citi News’ Pius Amihere Eduku that the Embassy would not pay if ECG does not provide it with an official bill.
“The whole controversy about whether the American Embassy has been able to get an itemized bill in two years exemplifies some of the real challenges that the ECG is facing. We have set aside money to pay our bill to ECG but ECG has not been able to give us an itemized bill. I want to know how much electricity I’m using and until someone can tell me that, I’m not going to pay.”
He said the fund set aside by the Embassy to pay the bills is sufficient to cater for all its bills if the utility service provider submits a bill.
Possible legal action
The Ambassador said he was confident that their action is legal.
“I don’t think that any court would say that ECG has the right to demand payment when they cannot tell us what services have been provided.”
Ambassador Jackson revealed that the Embassy had some prepaid meters installed on its properties but refused to pay bills for those meters after it noticed that the ECG had tied the meter to its [US Embassy’s] property as well as other adjoining non-US embassy facilities.
Credit: Citi FM