The Power Distribution Services Ghana Limited (PDS) says the reduction of debt of residents of Lower Manya Krobo Municipality from GH¢196 million to GH¢84 million is due to data cleaning and reconciliation based on actual meter reading figures and not a waiver.
The previous total debt of GH¢196 million was based on estimates which was used in determining the power bills of the residents.
According to William Boateng, Public Relations Officer of PDS, the company was compelled to rely on estimates to bill the residents as a result of threats on the lives of PDS workers who were tasked with reading meters of residents in the municipality.
Reacting to media reports that PDS has waived off over GH¢100 million of the debts of the residents in an interview with Ghanaian Times in Accra, he said the report was inaccurate and that the reduction was because the workers were given access to take the actual meter data which was used in the cleaning and reconciliation exercise.
“The estimates we relied on gave us the total of the previous debts as announced. But when our workers got access to read the power meters and record the actual figures, we used the CMS software to clean and reconcile the data which brought down the figure to GH¢84 million,” he stated.
As part of a roadmap to end growing tension and violence between the residents and staff of PDS and encourage payment of electricity bills, Mr. Boateng said that, the PDS has developed a debt rescheduling plan to enable customers pay off their debts in installments.
“PDS has relaxed the 70 per cent upfront payments for customers and would be scheduling the debt minimum six months and possible extension when the need is genuine. This is to allow all in debt in the municipality to pay off their debts through comfortable means,” he added.
He said customers who have billing issues could go to PDS Customer Care offices to seek redress adding that the residents were required to work together with the local authorities and traditional leaders to create the enabling environment for PDS staff to work.
On May 22, some angry youths in the municipality mounted road blocks and pelted the PDS staff with stones and sticks at Yohe, a community near Odumase Krobo when PDS staff went to the community to continue its mass disconnection exercise.
The irate youth smashed a PDS Nissan Pick-Up vehicle and took the intervention of armed Police personnel to rescue the PDS staff.
The PDS staff decided to switch off the transformers cutting off power supply to many communities.
Shortly after the attack, the angry youth mobilised to embark on a protest to petition the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) but the armed Police rushed to protect the Municipal Assembly Office by preventing the youth from entering the premises.
This led to clashes between the youth and the Police leading to the death of a 14- year-old boy while seven persons including a final year Junior High Student (JHS) student were shot in the leg while returning from market.
A total of 35 persons were arrested during the riot.
Three people were injured after a similar chaos two days earlier at Manya Kpongunor over mass disconnection exercise by PDS.
PDS was embarking on a mass disconnection exercise with armed Police personnel in Somanya, Odumase Krobo and its environs.
Hundreds of houses have been disconnected in the ongoing exercise which started on May 13 this year from Kpong and Nuaso communities.
In 2017, angry residents in Somanya attacked PDS, former Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) office for over billing.
Police vehicles were torched and properties destroyed in the violent attacks. Many residents have since refused to pay electricity bills and have threatened to attack PDS staff who attempt disconnecting their homes.
Source: Ghanaian Times