The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) has asked the management of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to overhaul their monitoring system to ensure that they are able to account for consumption in the system.
ACEP said made this recommendation in a new study on consumption of electricity in Ghana.
The study raises the need for quick reforms in addressing the challenge of illegally connected SHEP meters and the wider problem of illegal connections and non-payment for power consumed.
ACEP recommended also that the ECG should immediately take steps to regularize all Self-Help Electrification Program (SHEP) meters and eliminate the damaged ones.
“ECG should adopt a whistle blower mechanism to support the detection of illegal connections in the system.
“ECG should overhaul their monitoring system to ensure that they are able to account for consumption in the system. Particular attention should be paid to the high voltage feeders to enable them to identify where power theft is high.
“Again, power distributors should monitor their staff and subcontractors in charge of installing and reading meters to identify the recalcitrant ones who are engaged in illegal connection for sanctions,” the study said.
It added “The Ministry of Energy should ensure that installation of the SHEP meters is made with the active participation the power distribution companies to ensure they are captured into their system for billing.
“Agents of the power distributors, including subcontractors and service providers who distribute meters among others, actively facilitate and advise consumers on illegal connections and meter tampering for their private gains.
“It was also revealed that politicians get the SHEP meters from the Ministry of Energy to share and connect households to the grid for electoral gains without the active involvement of the power distributors.
“The evidence from this work suggests that the number of illegally installed SHEP metres identified in the study is only a tip of the iceberg.
“The implication of the existence of these meters is the significant financial losses to the power distributors.
“Distribution losses in the system is estimated to cost about GHS1.3billion annually, with an average cost of about GHp 15/kWh to the consumer. The risk of this cost increasing is very high when the illegal meter connection problem is left unattended.”