BY: Prince Yao Amevi | Broadcast Journalist |
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” -Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder.
The above clearly identifies what the distinguishing factor is- Innovation. It might not emanate from bringing an entirely new process but changing the throughput definitely results into desirable outcomes.
It was a year ago this month (August 2020) that the Volta Regional PRO for ECG, Mr. Benjamin O. Antwi announced to major stakeholders in Volta Region that Mr. Emmanuel Lumor has been appointed as the General Manager(GM) of ECG Volta. I received the news wondering who Mr. Lumor was because the PRO said good things about his boss and as always I thought it was him trying to praise his new boss but a PURC official commented on the PURC platform that the new GM is a fine gentleman.
I decided to take a keen interest in activities of ECG under his leadership in Volta and Oti Regions. Fast forward the new General Manager settles and embarks on stakeholder engagement tours to engage stakeholders like traditional authorities, customers, media, security agencies, PURC and some opinion leaders. In all his engagements, one message stood out. He said,
“Together with my management team, we want to make ECG Volta, The Hub of Excellent
Customer Service so we are here to seek your support and advice to make this vision a reality” This bold pronouncement by the General Manager was welcomed with joy by all stakeholders though they all agreed it was ambitious but Mr. Lumor assured them it was possible.
At one of the engagements that I witnessed at the palace of Togbe Afede XIV in Ho, Mr. Lumor actually backed his words with action by giving an instant response to a complaint lodged by the Agbogbomefia of Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV. This led to words of commendation from all the traditional rulers present at the engagement and later a letter of commendation from the Asogli State to the General Manager and ECG Volta.
This sent a signal to all stakeholders that there is a new dawn in Volta Region but people were still skeptical about the attitude of ECG staff and Outages in the Region. A year after his appointment, it is evident for all to see that the outage situation in Volta Region has improved drastically. In fact I listened to a radio program with Mr. Lumor as the guest discussing ECG news and many customers who called during the phone in session commended the ECG Volta for their hard work and reiterated that the outage situation in Volta region has improved tremendously. The response time to faults by the ECG staff has improved. Hitherto, it takes longer hours for ECG staff to restore power supply or even attend to faults but the situation has improved since the arrival of Mr. Lumor.
Last year February, the ECG lost close to 1200 poles due to perennial bush fire which was worrying to me as I thought the ECG could have avoided this situation. On one of his radio programs, Mr. Lumor indicated that he intends to bring the number down drastically and my checks at the ECG revealed that the Volta Region lost 14 poles this year to perennial bush fires. During the Christmas break, most assembly members indicated they saw the ECG embarking on the creation of fire belts around their poles and I personally saw them do that with the help of some third parties. The momentum and zeal of the ECG during that period was very massive so I am not surprised that the company recorded lower numbers this year.
In Ho, one of the challenges that customers face has to do with challenge with their prepaid meters at night. At times customers had to sleep in the dark because their meter had a challenge and the ECG had closed. However, after a year in the Region, I have noticed that the ECG works till 10:00pm to resolve all challenges reported by customers on their prepaid meters. At times they go beyond that time to ensure all challenges are resolved to the delight of customers.
Personally, I had an encounter with him at Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) and shared my
Experience during my meter acquisition period
(Link here) and the many positive responses I received publicly and privately generated some amount of energy within me to observe and see whether the actions (positive) of the New Regional General Manager was not going to be a nine day wonder. It never was since it looks more of the way of life of this leader.
I have moved in and out of ECG either to buy prepaid credit or complain about a problem. The big office complex which was constructed in 2014 welcomes you with mostly a lady presumably from an outsourced security service who either pays no attention to you or responds to your salutation. New comers into the edifice will be most confused finding their way round the many offices. Couldn’t there have been a trained receptionist who directs customers to their various solution points? I thought to myself anytime I visited. This prayer got answered when to my surprise I met a lady who welcomed me at the entrance.
Lady (Receptionist): Good afternoon Sir and welcome
Me: with shock on my face, afternoon
Lady (Receptionist): What can we help you with?
I told her my challenge and she directed me to the officer who could offer solution. What shocked me more was her question whether my problem was solved on my way out of the office. I have met receptionists but the lady at ECG, Ho stands out. She has a beautifully built counter all to herself which adds some formal setting to her department. My checks indicate that this innovation was by the same man in my fb post-The new General Manager.
Prior to this encounter I reported my faulty prepaid card in January 2021 and as always it was placed into small gadget by the engineer and I was asked to return home and get it slotted into my meter because the fault has been rectified. Two hours after I left the office, I received a call from someone who introduced himself as an engineer from ECG who was calling to check whether my meter was able to ‘pick’ the card as they indicated. Till now I cannot remember the answer I gave because I was dumbfounded by the gesture which I have never experienced with the power producer. A trace once more led me to the man in my Facebook post-The General Manager.
It is legitimate to condemn public sector workers who exhibit lackadaisical attitude towards service delivery but it will be an upfront on nation building if we do not celebrate those that innovate to the delight of customers.
Like the Toyota Production System (TPS) employed Kaizen to meet customer expectation, may you continually improve until all bottlenecks- especially meter contractors, new connection and fault reporting are finally eliminated to make the processes at Electricity Company of Ghana as customer friendly as ever
Let us also see sanctions on recalcitrant employees who continue to tarnish your hard work otherwise the one bad nut adage will wear flesh, until then keep improving keep innovating, Mr. Emmanuel Lumor.
Prince Yao Amevi