As the world mourns Tina Turner, the world’s Queen of ‘Rock n Roll’ who was reported dead earlier this week, one of her international chart hits recorded with Australian singer, Jimmy Barnes, ‘Simply the best’, has been on my mind.
So also on my mind has been the progressive move by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for its show of proactiveness towards nationwide revenue mobilisation. They have earned the title of the moment. They are “simply the best” State Owned Enterprise (SOE) of the moment.
The cost of electricity, or for that matter, utilities, is one line item that hits most home budgets so hard, hence the hue and cry whenever utility price increases. In today’s life on the go, electricity is a sure necessity. A must-have.
But then also, one knows that ECG, though in a privileged position as a sole provider of electricity in the country, has consistently reported losses due to unpaid use and illegal connections.
At the end of the day, however, it is most likely that their shortfalls get passed on to consumers. Customers are made to pay extra to shore up the company’s cost of power distribution.
That is why as consumers, we should all hail the recent consistency by the management of the company to go on nationwide revenue mobilisation and also clamp down on illegal connections. In so doing, their target is to clear the huge debt that keeps piling up for unpaid usage of power.
I have decided to comment on the direction of the current management of the company purely for the reason that ECG’s profitability is of concern to all of us as consumers. A profitable ECG means a well-resourced and well-equipped company to serve us efficiently.
The customer will benefit in terms of a stable supply of power. And when the customer benefits, there are huge life transformations for individuals, families, communities and businesses – from the ice water seller to the wayside welder and through to the mega manufacturing enterprises.
Almost every Ghanaian knows that over the years, illegal connections have existed in the ECG system, gradually eating into the company’s resources. The majority should not continue to pay for the few to cheat and enjoy.
That is one reason we should all support the on-going monthly pledge of the current management to track and pursue those cheating the system as well as those SOEs and individuals who have refused to pay for their power usage.
Based on the information they put out after their earlier mobilisation exercise, ECG made public that they realised nearly 50 per cent of the GH¢5.7 billion debt recovery target they set for themselves. That indeed was a good start. Imagine if that move was not made.
And so to keep to their promise, the company has this week again gone on the loose to continue where it left off. One’s expectation is that this will be another feat for the debt recovery target they have set for themselves.
Indeed the announcement by the management of the company earlier in the week that they are not going to rest on their oars and that the exercise will be carried on every last week of the month, henceforth, is good for the ears.
The move by ECG has put confidence in consumers that where management is determined and focused, a lot could be realised. Where do we go with water?
Water, they say is life and so is one other utility service that needs to be consistent in its efforts to flush out all the inefficiencies in the system. If ECG can do it so we believe Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) can also do even better.
Just like it is with electricity, GWCL has often complained about unpaid bills and illegal connections.
Some time ago, there were speculations that some sachet water producers were tapping illegally into our treated water and packaging them as ‘pure water’ for sale. One is not sure how deep GWCL went into those speculations but as a critical public utility company, consumers should be concerned with the efficient running of their services.
GWCL, like ECG, is also in a privileged position in what they do, being the sole provider of treated water in the country. This strength should have been harnessed to make them one of the most profitable SOEs. Everyone uses their services from morning till night so they should be a strong business.
Many times when utility tariffs are increased, the popular refrain has been to help strengthen the company’s financial position to resource us better. At a time when illegal mining has destroyed most of our major water bodies and the company is putting in extra to make our water wholesome, they win consumer support in efforts to amass revenue to produce at world-class standards.
What one prays for is that they will be strengthened to go out there on a massive and continuous mobilisation exercise, checking on the inefficiencies affecting their revenues.
Consumers definitely will wish our public utility companies to achieve their maximum best with even more proactive and progressive assignments and use their privileged positions to achieve simply the best status. Are ECG and GWCL listening in?