ECG, GWCL et al…

ECG, GWCL et al…

Mr Clifford-Braimah GWCL boss

I am uncomfortable writing about utilities in our country, not because they perform above average, but because no one listens when Ghana­ian consumers complain. My under­standing is that wherever there is a monopoly, consumer’s voices do not resonate.

One beautiful Saturday morning two and a half months ago about half a dozen young men came to my resi­dence with meters, cables and tools claiming they were contracted by our almighty ECG to change my meter and that of my Landlord’s.

Of course, they were in ECG iden­tifiable apparel, but I asked them why they would replace a perfectly work­ing meter. They said they were acting on orders. I realized they were small fishes in the scheme of things, but I still had a few questions for them. I had over 350 cedis worth of credit on my meter; their response was that it would be credited on to the new meter.

We were to go to the ECG office the very next Monday to have our new status regularised and that they had a token credit of 30 cedis on the new meter. Fifty cedis should be paid on the Monday and the token 30 cedis would be deducted leaving a credit balance of 20 cedis.

On Monday I sent an emissary to the ECG offices at Dansoman with the fifty cedis. He returned with no re­ceipt but with a message that I would receive a call after the regulariza­tion was completed. Two and a half months down the line I have not been called and my credit of over 350 cedis has not been restored.

Dear reader, please note that I am not alone in this dilemma. Almost all customers in my general area have a similar tale to narrate. I spoke to one official at Dansoman ECG who was quite concerned and tried to help but later reported a sluggish system. Up till today, the ECG has done nothing to fix this problem. Honestly, I feel deceived and robbed as do the other customers.

But for the benevolence of a press next door whose standby generator gives me power, I would have been in total darkness. Why a utility provider as ECG would treat its customers with such contempt beats my mind.

I watched a news item two week ago where officials of ECG were on a crusade dubbed, “Fix the bill, pay the bill” targeted at postpaid clients and all I did was laugh my head off. I can bet my bottom pesewa that this will amount to nothing.

An ECG that cannot fix issues with prepaid meters trying to fix postpaid ones? The ECG should cut through the chase.

Now, I was told to contact a ven­dor to purchase power without any assurance that I would get my ‘sto­len’ credit back. I duly contacted the vendor who told me to send her my new meter’s details, which I did. After that she sent me a Momo number to make payment to. I paid up and got a printed receipt, but it took the whole day before the mechanism of this new purchase was explained to me.

How do I and other clients get our credits back? Mr. Boateng and his Pub­lic Relations Directorate have a duty to tell me and other customers what is going on. We need answers.


Water, we are told is life. True as this saying is, water can also be the end of life, a lack of it, that is. I would not want to be in the shoes of those managing the Ghana Water Company Limited. Theirs is an arduous task, especially at a time that rains have come in torrents and breaching storage limits.

I wonder how the GWCL is able to turn the cyanide poisoned and Galam­sey induced carnage of some water bodies into drinkable water. But these attacks on our water bodies is no ex­cuse for the day-to-day erratic water supply to certain commu­nities on a regular basis.

At times announce­ments are made after the taps have stopped flow­ing. When these technical issues arise, would it not be prudent to contract water tankers to the affected communities to sell water to the people? I think every utility provid­er should make provisions for situations likely to cause discomfort to their customers.

The days where state institutions pander to the whims and caprices of the political class must be put in the dustbin of history if this country is to move forward. Successive gov­ernments have only paid lip-service to the destructive activi­ties of Galamsey and its operators.

The discourse on Galamsey is as murky as the colour of the riv­ers under siege. Our politicians are busy arguing about who had or has a better fight against the menace while farmlands get degraded, forest covers destroyed and people’s concern is how to make money.

The management of GWCL must be courageous to tell the powers that be in the face of how much destruction the nation’s water resources have been subjected to if they have not done so already. Those running our affairs must know the buck stops at their table and the responsibility is theirs to save us, else they have failed in their duty to the country.


As a journalist I have in­terest in how the media space performs. I read newspapers, I listen to radio and watch television on a daily basis. Per­sonally, I rate social media as a junkyard where one has to be careful in navigating. Mind you, not everything you find on a refuse dump is trash.

I am told that it is the National Communication Authority (NCA) that has the power to grant licences for the operation of radio and television in Ghana. What I am not too sure of is whether, as done by our Electoral Commission that creates constituencies by population density, the NCA gives licences based on the same principle.

I have this concern because the NCA seems to give out licenses like confetti. Take the Greater Accra Region, for example: a Region that is only 3,245 square kilometers in total land space, there are over sixty fre­quency modulated (FM) radio stations. Can the NCA tell me what accounts for this? Not only that, some of the frequencies are so close that one can feel intrusion into some of the chan­nels by others.

Does the NCA only consider what the prospective entrepreneur has to pay to them as application fee or these licenses are given on political patronage. Media organizations, not state-owned, subsist on advertising revenue. This also is predicated on the buoyancy of the economy. Does the NCA factor these in their deci­sions?

Does the NCA bother whether or not some of these media houses are struggling to remain afloat in the very tight advertising space, or once they give out the licenses, these stations are on their own? Let us not forget about television stations almost equal in number.

Whatever good intentions inform this mass pluralisation of radio and television, the numbers are staggering and have the potential to collapse the industry in the long run since other applications for license are in the queue.

We recall that Ghanaians have a sickening penchant for towing the line of doing what one person has done en masse. Remember the days of Soace-to-Space when everyone got a garden umbrella and a cellphone and was in business. This was after the phenome­non of Communication Centers. This is history now.

Where do we go from when media organisations begin to fold up? Mean­while, our Ministry of Communication has introduced policies that stifle the growth of the operators, especially in the television subsector. In my esti­mation, proprietors of media houses have a bleak number of days going forward.

I will get to content and profes­sionalism in a later episode.

Post Script: This column takes a very short break.

By Dr. Akofa K. Segbefia

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