Hundreds police personnel led by the Deputy Eastern Regional Police Commander DCOP Emmanuel Twumasi-Ankrah have been deployed to Lower Manya Krobo Municipality in the Eastern Region as some divisional chiefs lead a massive demonstration against the installation of prepaid meters and deployment of soldiers for same.
The demonstration being participated by thousands of residents will start from Akutunya and end in Kpong.
This demonstration is part of series of demonstrations and protests held against ECG in the ongoing Prepaid meter installation exercise.
Last week, for instance, tension escalates at Nuaso a suburb of Odumase Krobo when some agitating residents who spontaneously protested had a confrontation with the armed military for supervising the installation of prepaid meter without engaging the community.
The volatile atmosphere forced the military and the staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana, ECG, to retreat from the area.
However, the ECG team and the military returned in the afternoon to continue the exercise.
Neighboring residents from Kpongunor who has also embarked on similar protest mobilized and stormed Nuaso to support the people resist the military and ECG officials.
The military and the ECG team sensing violent confrontation again retreated having engaged the chiefs and Assembly members in the area for community engagement to be done on the exercise Tuesday before they resume.
Assembly member for Nuaso Raymond Newton said, the residents in the area need education on the prepaid meters therefore hopeful that the community engagement agreed upon with ECG tomorrow will deescalate tension in the community.
He however appealed to ECG to restore power to the community after it allegedly switched off power supply to the community following the resistance.
Parliament directed the Defence Minister to immediately withdraw the military personnel assisting the installation of prepaid meters at Lower Manya Krobo
The directive was given by the Second Deputy Speaker, Andrew Amoako Asiamah, on Friday, June 24 after the Member of Parliament for the area, Ebenezer Okletey Terlabi raised the matter on the floor of the house, indicating that the presence of the military men is heightening tensions in the community.
“We are also directing that the Minister for Defence withdraws the military attaché in the area for the time being for us to address certain matters, I so direct.” the second deputy speaker directed.
About 50 military personnel have been deployed to Krobo area to provide security to staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana , ECG, as it replaces all postpaid meters with prepaid meters since June 14, 2022
However, according to Sakyiwaa Mensah, Public Relations Officer for ECG Tema Region the military are providing technical support since they are undergoing refresher training course at ECG training school.
Meanwhile the Director of Customer Service, Anokye Abebreseh told the media in Koforidua on Monday, June 13, 2022, that intensive engagements have been done with all stakeholders in the Krobo area hence was expecting maximum cooperation on the installation of prepaid meters.
“Just last week we met, a tripartite kind of a committee comprising of Electricity company, National Security and United Krobo Foundation. We met and the agreement is that ECG going to install prepaid meter starting from tomorrow for which all of us have agreed .so come tomorrow (Tuesday) we are going to deploy our men to the field to start the installation of prepayment meters. We have done a lot of stakeholders engagements so at least for now calm is prevailing so come tomorrow 14th of June we are going to start deployment of prepayment meters ” said Anokye Abebreseh
The installation of prepaid meters comes after years of impasse between Krobo residents and ECG which escalated into devasting attacks on ECG office in Somanya and led to deadly clash with police. The ECG office has since been shut down.
Residents vowed to resist the installation of Prepaid meters while calling on ECG to write off debts owned by customers in Krobo land from 2018 to 2021.
Answering questions on the controversy of none payment of electricity bills by residents, Mr. Anokye Abebreseh stressed that ECG has ring-fenced all arrears of customers in the Krobo area from the period between 2014 and 2017 but arrears between 2018 to date must be paid by customers within 5 years however, the debt will not be transferred into the prepaid meters to be installed.
“We made it clear that the period between 2014 and 2017 has been ring-fenced so that the customers, for now, will not border themselves about their amount but then the period between 2018 to date the customers are supposed to pay but for goodwill purposes, we’ve asked that we are not going to put the debt on the new prepayment meters. Normally the practice is that when you out prepayment meter there you put the debt on the post-paid meter on the prepaid meter so that we will recover whatever debt but in this case we said from 2018 to date we are not going to put it there, and that we will meet customers individually and determine how they should pay the debt”