On Monday, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) said it cannot be held responsible for the rapid depletion of electricity units reported by customers using new pre-paid smart meters.

The announcement follows accusations made against ECG that the utility is “deliberately calibrating the meters to force consumers to pay more for electricity,” GhanaWeb reported.

Pre-paid smart meters

Load limiting
ECG installed pre-paid smart meters in 2014 in an effort to promote efficient energy use

ECG says it has installed pre-paid smart meters, which should capture an estimated 99% of consumption.

Local media report that a few ECG consumers are experiencing a rapid depletion of their energy units shortly after purchase, despite the continuous roll-out of power outages.

James Smith-Graham, general manager for Safety, Health and Environment at ECG, told Citi News that the new prepaid meters capture all consumption data.

Smith-Graham said: “With an analogue meter, consumption can pass without the meter recording but with this new meter, its accuracy is very high and it records every little consumption that goes through.”

Defending ‘power theft’

Smith-Graham explains that the utility applies the same standards to the new metering technology. “We calibrate it in the same way across the country. We take it to our meter lab and calibrate it with the same standards…it’s the tariff that changes.”

GhanaWeb reported that Smith-Graham has asked all energy consumers “to use quality cables for wiring and make sure that wires are earthed correctly to prevent leaking of the power they buy, which they blame on the ECG most of the time.”

“If you don’t do your earthing well, power that otherwise should have been useful to you will rather go as waste into the earth,” Smith-Graham added.