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Ghana’s ECG Turns Off Power In Parliament Building Over $1.8 Million Debt

The parliament has however disputed this claim, said they owe about $950,000

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) took drastic action on Thursday by cutting power supplies to the country’s parliament building due to an outstanding debt of 23 million Ghanaian cedi ($1.8 million; £1.4 million).

The unexpected outage disrupted a debate on the president’s State of the Nation address, leaving Members of Parliament (MPs) in a dimly lit chamber.

In a video shared by local media, MPs were seen chanting “Dumsor, dumsor” in the local Akan language, which translates to “power outage.” Despite the inconvenience, a backup power generator was quickly activated, restoring electricity to the chamber within minutes. However, other areas of the parliament building remained without power for most of the day before services were eventually restored.

Reports from Ghana’s TV3 channel indicated that some MPs and parliamentary staff were stranded in elevators during the sudden blackout.

The communications director of the power company, William Boateng, revealed that the decision to disconnect power was due to parliament’s failure to settle outstanding bills despite repeated demand notices.

After parliament made a partial payment of 13 million cedi and pledged to clear the remaining debt within a week, electricity was reinstated later in the day.

However, parliamentary finance official Ebenezer Ahumah Djietror disputed the amount owed, stating that the power company’s system failed to accurately record recent payments. He insisted that the outstanding bill amounted to approximately $950,000.

Ghana’s electricity company has been grappling with financial challenges, leading to frequent disconnections for customers with outstanding debts.

According to Elikplim Kwabla Apetogbor, head of the organization representing private electricity suppliers, the state power company owes them $1.6 billion. Last July, these suppliers threatened to halt operations over unpaid arrears.

Opposition MPs have called on the government to invest more in the power sector to prevent further crises. They attribute the ongoing challenges to insufficient funds for purchasing fuel for the country’s thermal generation plants.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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