Counterfeit electrical products patronage fuels electricity cost

The use of counterfeit electrical products has been identified as a major variable that fuels high domestic electricity consumption in the country, thus taking a huge toll on domestic electricity consumers, B&FT has gathered.

The situation has been heightened by the Ghanaian market being inundated with counterfeit electrical products by unscrupulous dealers, whereas unsuspecting consumers are unable to distinguish between fake and original electrical products.

This came up at a three-day sensitisation forum held in Sunyani on the use, effects and how to avoid counterfeit electrical products in the system. The public forum was organised by Communication for Development and Advocacy (CDA Consult), a non-governmental organisation.

Addressing the gathering, Francis Mensah Akpaloo – Scientific Officer and Technical Supervisor at the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA) – said checks by the regulator have revealed that many electrical products including bulbs, cables and home-appliances on the market are sub-standard. He attributed the situation largely to importation of these products via unapproved routes and the ‘compromised system’ by some key elements, especially at the borders and ports.

“Per our market surveillance, more than 70% of electrical cables are sub-standard. A lot of the bulbs on the market have also failed our test; any bulb purported to be over 60 watts is not an energy-saving bulb. We have realised that some dealers swindle consumers to pay more for 70-120 watts bulbs which are actually less than 60 watts,” he said.

The GSA, he noted, has been embarking on a series of activities such as periodic market surveillance and public education to control the supply and raise alarm about the dangers of fake electrical products. He advised the public to be meticulous in the patronage of electrical products, saying: “The public should be particular about price disparity between similar products, original brand names and batch numbers as well”.

The Executive Director of CDA Consult, Francis Ameyibor, said in the face of the alarming negative effects of patronising counterfeit electrical products, it has become important for an all-encompassing national discourse to inform a national policy direction that curtails this illicit business.

He indicated that the forces behind the electrical counterfeit market have ‘powerful well-resourced’ entities to champion their selfish interest, and therefore all and sundry must put their shoulders to the wheel so as to make the anti-counterfeit electrical products campaign a success.

The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh, in a speech read for him during the opening session commended CDA Consult and its partners for the laudable initiative. He reiterated the need for individuals, groups and all key stakeholders to be watchful and report any issue of counterfeit electrical products to the appropriate quarters of action.