The Ministry of Energy is leading the charge to find a lasting solution to the impasse between the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and the Yilo Krobo and the Lower Manya Krobo municipalities in the Eastern Region.
Consequently, a committee has been set up to come up with a road map to resolve the standoff, which has seen the ECG disconnect power to the area for the past seven days.
This comes after a meeting among the traditional authorities of the affected communities, the Energy Ministry, the Member of Parliament for the area and the ECG last Tuesday.
The meeting had been necessitated by the ECG’s decision on July 27 to cut power to the area following actions by a section of the people that prevented the company from replacing postpaid meters with prepaid ones.
“We’ve all agreed that a committee be set up, so that we can move forward from where we are now,” the Public Relations Officer of the Energy Ministry, Kwesi Obeng Fosu, confirmed to the Daily Graphic.
Mr Fosu, however, stressed that there would be no compromise on the installation of prepaid meters, which had been the bone of contention in the area.
The committee, which is expected to start work immediately, will have three nominations from Kroboland, a representative from National Security and two representatives from ECG.
Among its mandate will be to find a lasting solution to the issue by way of also making a determination on payment plans for outstanding bills owed by the residents in the affected area to the ECG.
“At the initial meeting yesterday, the ECG MD was very passionate about the safety of his staff and his installations. The demeanour of the Chiefs was also one that suggested that they are ready to speak to the irate youth of the town to ceasefire.
We believe that if cool heads prevail as everyone is asking for, lights will be restored even as the negotiations go on,” the Energy Ministry’s spokesperson said.
Last Monday, the traditional leaders, at a press conference in Somanya, appealed to the ECG to restore power to save lives and properties, as health facilities in the area, as well as businesses and social lives, had been negatively impacted.
The chiefs said it was unfair for Kroboland to be punished for the “sins of a few people” and appealed for power to be restored while a workable lasting solution was found to the issue.
Assurance on safety
Although the ECG has welcomed the intervention from the Energy Ministry, it still insists power will only be restored after it finds the road map an assurance of the safety of its staff on the ground.
The Director of Communications and Public Affairs of the ECG, William Boateng, confirmed to the Daily Graphic that the ministry had initiated the action, and that last Tuesday the Managing Director of the ECG had led a team to the first meeting.
“We are interested in finding a resolution to the impasse and, therefore, openly welcome the committee that has been set up to handle the issue.
“However, it has been made clear that power will not be restored to the enclave until the company receives clear assurances that its technical staff on the ground will be safe to carry out their duties. It is about the safety and security of the workers, and not the ECG management.
“Once we have the assurances that they are safe and secure to go about their duties as required of them, power will be restored,” the ECG spokesperson stressed.
In spite of this intervention, the Public Utility Workers Union (PUWU) has directed its members with ECG in the Yilo Krobo and the Lower Manya Krobo areas to boycott work until their security situation improves.
The union is currently worried about signals from the youth of Kporwunor, Maadam, Nuaso Old Town and Agbom in the Krobo District.
“Persistent threats by the youth and the demonstration of violence put the lives of ECG staff in danger. It would be recalled that the youth of these communities have been threatening the staff of ECG since 2019,” it said in a statement last Tuesday.
The statement, signed by the General Secretary of PUWU, Michael Adumatta Nyantakyi, said the union felt the ECG had lost control over its network in the Krobo area, thereby posing risks to the lives of staff and public properties.
“The PUWU of TUC-Ghana hereby calls on all stakeholders to engage the youth of the area and bring them to order, so that the staff of the ECG who are PUWU members can go about their duties and serve the good people of the Krobo District in a safe and peaceful environment devoid of threats and physical attacks,” it said in the statement.
“Until a conducive working environment is guaranteed, where ECG staff can freely go about their duties to enhance the business of the company without the support of the security agencies in the municipalities, our members will not risk their lives any further,” it stressed.