ECG Losing GH˘ Millions Through Syndicate's illegal activities
The illegal activities of a syndicate who allege to be employees of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) are causing the country to lose millions of cedis annually.
The modus operandi of the syndicate is to approach commercial and residential consumers of electricity and promise to help them reduce their electricity bills if they are willing to pay for their services.
A survey conducted by The Finder indicated that the syndicate, usually numbered between two and six persons, charge between GH˘300 and GH˘ 1,000 depending on the size and location of the commercial activity.
A number of victims who spoke to The Finder on condition of anonymity stated that upon receipt of the money, the syndicate tamper with the metre and sometimes connect them directly from the pole, thereby reducing the amount of electricity consumed by the victims with a subsequent reduction in electricity bill.
According to the victims, a few months after the metres had been tampered with, another group of persons believed to be members of the syndicate would approach the victims and accuse them of illegal power connection.
The victims are then threatened with disconnection of power. The threat often compels them to negotiate with the syndicate by giving them money in order to save their businesses.
With respect to residential consumers, especially those on post paid, the syndicate, having studied one’s consumption for a while, would normally approach the victims with an assurance to minimise their electricity bills.
The syndicate, the victims alleged, would often assure them that if they paid some particular amount to them they would ensure that they (victims) paid far less than what they would have paid monthly for the electricity they consumed.
“The syndicate will deliberately tamper with the metre and report to the ECG that the metre is faulty,” one of the victims told The Finder, adding that they were then put on a fixed monthly bill, which was far less than what they used to pay.
The syndicate then follow up every month and extort money from the victims.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of ECG for Accra West, Mr Eric Asante, stated that the company was not ruling out the fact that some ECG employees could be engaged in such activities.
He also noted that most of the people engaged in this activity may have gotten training from ECG at a particular point in time by way of work attachment while some may have technical knowledge of the system.
“Anybody approached by any syndicate should demand the identity card of the people, the district or region they were coming from,” he said.
He said when consumers agreed to the operation of the syndicate they were also liable to committing crime, adding that “the giver and the taker are all liable.”