Staff of Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo) have threatened to treat all emergency works as within the regular working hours in a bid to demand all debts owed them by the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and other key institutions.
At a news conference in Accra, the staff said if by December 4, 2019 all debts owed the company are not settled they will embark on a sit-down strike.
According to the staff of GRIDCo, during the 2018 tariff review, the company’s transmission service charges were reduced by 16 per cent, which saw a dip in revenue to about GH¢290 million.
They said as at February, 2019, ECG owed the power production firm over GH¢598 million, VALCO $28 million and NEDCo GH¢178 million.
Chairman of the aggrieved staff Raphael Kornor said materials and spare parts are purchased in foreign currency but ECG and NEDCo pay in the local currency except VALCO.
“We have over 14,000 transmission towers traversing across rivers and thick forest reserves. These 14,000 towers need to be visited at least every fortnight to ascertain their condition and maintain them,” he said.
He added that GRIDCo had to go for loans on the international markets to finance some of their projects.
“We don’t wait on government to do that. GRIDCo does that at commercial interest rates and the funny aspect of it is that we pay these loans from meagre tariffs approved by PURC.”
The staff expressed disappointment in the current government for raising the first ESLA bond in 2017/2018 and settling the debts of VRA of over $550 million with nothing given to GRIDCo to offset ECG and VALCO debts.
They are therefore calling on the government to, as a matter of urgency, settle the ECG and VALCO indebtedness to GRIDCo.
Commenting on the handing over of ECG to the Power Distribution Services (PDS), Mr. Kornor said management and staff of GRIDCo heaved a sigh of relief when PDS took over from ECG because they witnessed a more regular and enhanced payments of their receivables.
They expressed shock that after the suspension of PDS by government, ECG has gone back to what he described as their old tricks and have started accumulating bills like they were doing before.
“We the staff of GRIDCo know that ECG is using the monies to pay themselves and their contractors at the expense of GRIDCo.”
They have therefore decided with immediate effect to declare the hoisting of red flags at all locations with red arm bands by all staff.
From Friday, November 22, staff will treat all emergency works as normal.
After seven days, staff will march to the ECG head office and the Ministry of Finance to picket in demand of their money.
If by close of work Wednesday, December 4, all debts are not paid, they indicated, they will declare a sit-down strike and follow it with disconnection of all customers indebted to the company.
By Godfred Tanam|3news.com|Ghana