Prepaid metres pose security threat – Consumers

Electricity metersA cross section of the public, have expressed fear and misgivings about the decision of Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), to install prepaid meters on electric poles outside the homes of customers.

Some said the move poses security threat and is endangering the lives of consumers, who fall victims to armed robbers and other social miscreants.

Nii Adjei Annan, a resident of Awoshie told the Ghana News Agency in Accra that installation of meters outside the dwelling places of consumers is “an attempt to endanger lives and property”.

Madam Naa Lamiley, a seamstress at Mallam said: “ECG now wants to expose our lives and that of our children to armed robbers who are becoming bolder by the day.”

“Why are our own people becoming so heartless with no sympathy for fellow compatriots?” She asked.

Ms Yvonne Nelson, a Social Worker, said the security implications for the ECG exercise far outweigh any benefit the company aims at gaining.

She remarked: “If ECG says when you buy credit it loads automatically then they might as well leave our meters in our homes so that when we buy it is automatically loaded. Our lives cannot be taken for granted for a few pockets to be full.”

Mr Ken Sackey, a Journalist, expressed concern that homes and business premises that uses electrical fences as security, would be robbed easily if robbers could access meters fixed outside by simply disconnecting power supply.

He said taking into consideration the country’s weather conditions means that sooner or later the meters, which are exposed to the vagaries of the weather would start giving consumers problems.

“I can tell you on authority that some meters have already started giving such problems to some consumers.”

Mr J. A. Biney, Managing Director of J A Biney Company Limited, says since the meters are prepaid there no need for the ECG to fix them outside homes.

“Thieves can start stealing these meters for the aluminium and copper,” he said.

Mr David Nenyi Ampah Benning, Director-General of the Ghana Police Public Relations Directorate, appealed to the ECG to reconsider the decision for the safety of consumers.

“I think ECG should simply put these meters in the homes of consumers to avoid any sort of harm to them,” he stressed.

He said it is imperative for the utility company to analyse these concerns and involve the stakeholders to nib in the bud any security situation that might arise.

Mr Ampah Benning commended Ghanaians for the show of security vigilance, saying “some few years ago such concerns may not arise till problems start emanating”.

“Peoples’ concern should not be thrown overboard,” he added.

Mr William Boateng, Director of Public Relations of ECG said the company’s decision was under the System Improvement and Losses Reduction programme meant to cut losses.

He, however, said the security implications are being taken into consideration.

Mr Boateng said the sentiments of the public are important and management attention would be drawn to it, to see how to mitigate the security threats.

“It is a new thing and the engineers are going to work to improve the technology and will take the security issue into consideration.”

He said the meters were put outside to prevent tampering by some consumers.

Mr Boateng said the meters have been tried in some countries in Asia though not on a large scale.

He said when tried in Teshie area, the company was able to cut its losses by 10 per cent so “We are starting in the densely populated areas within the ECG districts”.

Mr Boateng, however, said: “Armed robbers can attack even when lights are on or not, when people want to commit crime they will.”

Source: GNA

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