Ghanaians oppose ECG/PDS modalities on power supply and revenue collection
Adnan Adams Mohammed
A statement, released week and jointly-signed by Ing. Samuel Boakye-Appiah, MD of ECG and Rev. Ing William Hutton-Mensah, CEO of PDS, indicates that Power Distribution Services to be responsible for meter reading, billing, distribution of bills, bill reconciliation, revenue collection, and new service connections.
This is to ensure that there is no disruption in power supply and service deliveries in the country as investigations are still underway on the alleged fraudulent PDS deal detected.
As part of the modalities, both companies have agreed to allow PDS to carry on with “all activities related to electricity retail sale.”
But, the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has said it received with shock the joint Press Statement from ECG-PDS on the agreed modalities that allow embattled PDS to continue its operation of revenue collection from electricity supply and sales.
“We receive the joint Press Statement from ECG-PDS with a pinch of salt. We cannot continue paying bills to PDS, Ghanaians must boycott payment of bills until ECG-PDS deal is abrogated”, ASEPA said in a statement it issued last Friday.
The statement copied Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and all Media Houses explained that; “first of all, why should PDS still be in charge of revenue collection when indeed, there is enough evidence that the demand guarantee they presented for the take-over was fraudulent, that they paid No shareholder or equity contribution even though they are assumed by MiDA as Equity Investors and finally have not been able to account for the GHC2.6 billion revenue collected since the take-over!
“What plans have government put in place to secure the revenue collected by PDS so far, what measures have government put in place to ensure that when the deal is eventually abrogated after the investigations all revenues will be secured.
“Definitely Ghanaians cannot continue to pay bills to PDS when we are uncertain about the authority of the collection agency.
“We therefore entreat Ghanaians to boycott the payment of their electricity bills in disapproval of this decision until such time that the deal is abrogated and the revenue collection authority is handed back to ECG.”
Meanwhile, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Power Distribution Services (PDS) has both agreed on some modalities to ensure that there are no disruptions in power supply and service delivery in the country.
“In light of the above, all payments and other related activities shall continue to take place at PDS Regional and District offices, PDS existing Customer Service Centres, PDS licensed vending stations, PDS operated Cash Points and banks,” the statement added.
The companies in the statement indicated that the arrangement “shall be in force from 8th of August, 2019 until the reversal or otherwise by the Energy Commission.”
This comes on the back of the Finance Minister’s directive for ECG to assume oversight responsibility of movement of funds to and from all accounts operated by PDS.
The Finance Ministry said it was also facilitating the unfreezing of the accounts of PDS.
“The Ministry of Finance is currently facilitating the de-freezing of PDS accounts to ensure that there are funds to support the day-to-day operations,” the Finance Ministry stated in an earlier letter to PDS, ECG and other sector agencies.
The Finance Ministry in the letter stated that: “PDS will continue to operate their existing bank accounts. PDS must lodge all cash and cheque collections into the bank accounts intact. No staff of PDS is permitted to keep any cash/cheque collected.”
ECG, according to the Finance Ministry, must also be provided with detailed revenue collection and expenditure reports on a weekly basis and the relevant bank statements “to support same at the close of business daily. ECG must approve all payments, transfers and disbursement of funds from the PDS bank accounts before they are effected.”
“ECG must on a daily basis be furnished [by PDS] with details of outflows from the revenue accounts,” the letter added.
The government of Ghana on July 30, 2019 suspended a concession agreement with PDS for distribution of power in Ghana with immediate effect following what it said was the discovery “of fundamental and material breaches of PDS’ obligation in the provision of Payment Securities (Demand Guarantees).”
Government later announced that it had launched a full-scale inquiry into the breaches and had set up a committee made up of experts comprising insurance investigation experts, officials of the Energy and Finance ministries and officials of the ECG and MIDA as well, which had 30 days to complete the probe.
Energy Minister, John Peter Amewu, subsequently said investigations conducted by the government had established that some of the documents presented by PDS as a guarantee for the takeover were forged.