Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has charged the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to improve its collection rate to help turn around the fortunes of the energy sector.
The power distribution company currently has a collection rate of 66 percent, a situation that is partly accountable for the recurring debt in the energy sector.
But the Vice President believes resolving the issue should help address the challenges confronting other actors in the power generation and supply chain.
Dr. Bawumia made the remarks when he launched the ECG Mobile App on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
“If you don’t really handle this sector well, it can really create a lot of problems for your economy because in this sector, we are talking of hundreds of millions of dollars in bills. And one of the biggest problems why this has become an Achilles hill in the whole sector is the area of collection of revenue,” he asserted.
“So if we produce power and we are only able to collect say 60 percent of the revenue, then it means we have lost forty percent of the revenue so you are going to have companies like the VRA, GRIDCo and the rest in trouble. So the issue of solving the collection problem at ECG is a major part of solving the energy issue in Ghana.”
ECG mobile app to offer convenience to consumers
The mobile app introduced by the ECG also known as ‘ECG Power’, is a new system that will allows about 2.8 million out of the 3.8 million customers of the power distributor to buy power at their own convenience.
Patrons are able to make purchases via the various payment platforms provided by telcos such as MTN’s mobile money, Vodafone cash as well as AirtelTigo cash.
While smart phone users can access the app by downloading it from the google playstore or app store, other phone users could resort to dialing a short code which helps them to access the services.
Presently, while all postpaid customers can buy power with the app, only customers with the smart prepaid meters can access the service.
But the ECG says there are plans to eventually ensure that all of its customers are enrolled unto the platform within the shortest possible time.
ECG adopts AI to boost operations
Meanwhile, the Electricity Company of Ghana should by the end of this year complete the rolling out of a new system to check revenue losses due to power theft.
The mechanism will thrive on the use of artificial intelligence and other digital systems to regulate the distribution and payment of power.
Vice President Dr. Bawumia is hopeful this should help in the profitability of the company.
“I have been talking to the Board Chairman and MD of ECG who have told me that they are really thinking about applying technology such as artificial intelligence and remote sensors, and I know that they are piloting a system now and if all goes well, we will be able to implement a new system starting this year whereby nobody will be able to steal electricity in Ghana again,” he again indicated.