Scores of staff of the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) are apprehensive over the takeover by Power Distribution Service (PDS) Ghana Limited as the new electricity service provider.
The Ghana News Agency observed during a tour of ECG offices at Accra East, Volta River Authority Head Office, and Accra West, that normal work was not interrupted on the first working day after the takeover.
Some of the workers who spoke to GNA on condition of anonymity, however, expressed anxiety stressing that in Ghana any change of administration comes with workers being asked to go home.
“Even though we have been assured of the security of office, we are still monitoring the situation closely,” a worker told the GNA.
Some of the customers also said on day one of the takeover that operation has been normal. The premises are also yet to be branded under the new brand identity.
Meanwhile, the new electricity manager, PDS has issued a directive urging all customers of ECG to take note of the change of ownership.
“Power Distribution Services are now the electricity service provider in Ghana in all ‘ECG’s operational areas in the southern Distribution Zone of Ghana.
“We also urge our cherished customers and stakeholders that, all business transactions including payments of electricity bills especially (cheques) must be in the name Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited,” the statement said.
It will be recalled that Manila Electric Company (Meralco) officially took over running ECG from March 1st this year, under a 20-year concession agreement.
The negotiated Transaction Agreements – namely the Lease and Assignment Agreement, Bulk Supply Agreement, and Government Support Agreement – to secure the proposed Private Sector Participation (PSP) in ECG were approved by Cabinet and ratified by Parliament.
The Concessionaire, according to the agreement, is expected to inject an amount of $580m into the distribution system during the agreement period’s first five years.
The Bulk Supply Agreement between ECG and the Concessionaire deals with the Concessionaire’s back-to-back purchase of the capacity and energy made available to ECG under the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs).
The Concessionaire will do nominations and ECG will supply the power to be paid for by the Concessionaire.
ECG will sell all capacity and energy made available under the Portfolio PPAs to the Concessionaire, in exchange for payment by the company of all capacity and energy charges on a back-to-back basis.
With regard to the Government Support Agreement, it involves government providing a sovereign guarantee to indemnify the Concessionaire for any substantial breach by ECG of the terms and conditions under the Lease and Assignment Agreement and Bulk Supply Agreement.
The areas where the sovereign guarantee is being provided are payment of electricity bills supplied to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs); and Buy-Out Price after the expiration of the 20-year concession period.
The Concession approach is advantageous to the government, partly because the Concessionaire is responsible for all major new investments. This is expected to help minimize the impacts of such investments on the national budget.
Again, the Concessionaire takes responsibility for the delivery and operation of ECG’s power distribution and services infrastructure; thereby transferring the inherent risks from government to the Concessionaire.
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.