Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you have probably come across news of the back-and-forth between Origgin Technology Limited, it’s founder and CEO, Kane Mani and the Electricity Company of Ghana.
In any case you have somehow not been fully caught up on the trending tech news in Ghana, here is a comprehensive take on what exactly is the issue between the ECG and Origgin’s “E-Prepaid” mobile application.
How the ECG vs Origgin E-Prepaid app tussle started
Over the past weeks, Kane Mani has been heralding a “breakthrough” application that would allow Ghanaians to purchase credit for prepaid ECG meters with their mobile phones.
The application, though not released to the public, received high commendation from many Ghanaians and was given extensive media coverage.
In Ghana, it is a commonplace phenomenon to see long queues of consumers trying to purchase credit for prepaid meters.
And there were often the cases of unavailability of vendors at the rather odd times prepaid credit can run out in some households.
These made the said application a welcome news to many Ghanaian individuals who saw it as a way to bypass the several queues and purchase prepaid credit from the comfort of their homes.
Where it caught fire
According to Kane Mani, he received a call from the office of the Managing Director of ECG on Thursday, 3rd August after they “noticed a video of an app called E-Prepaid”.
Kane Mani said the ECG call was to inform him that the company [ECG] was surprised by the application as they had not contracted Origgin to create one.
Mani was reportedly asked to revealed how they had built the service upon which the application runs and when he replied in the negative, he was warned that his outfit was liable to receiving a legal notice against the launch of the app.
In Kane’s words, “I told them yes, we’ve developed the said [app as a]…private initiative,…which ECG isn’t part of or hasn’t [commissioned] us”. “However, we have partners we’ve worked with to achieve the solution we’ve built“.
“We will release app irrespective [of the warning of legal action] as we’ve not done anything illegal“, he said in response to ECG’s threat of blocking the release of the application legally.
The ECG reportedly also expressed displeasure that a certain element in the promotional video for the E-Prepaid app released by Origgin had suggested that it was an official ECG-commissioned application.
Kane Mani disputed this saying, “everyone who has seen the video knows and can hear we didn’t say any such thing“.
Subsequently, ECG released a colorful “Dear Customer, please take note.” disclaimer about the said application.
“The Electricity Company of Ghana Limited (ECG) wishes to inform its valued customers and the general public that its attention has been drawn to some mobile applications and video adverts circulating on social media claiming that ECG customers can purchase electricity prepaid cards through some agents“, the release said.
What now for ECG and Origgin?
Origgin Technology Limited, the company behind the E-Prepaid application, was right on the heels of the ECG with a press release.
In their release, they reiterated the earlier words of the CEO of the company, Kane Mani, stating that they would still go ahead with the planned release of their app.
“Origgin Group wishes to state categorically that E-Prepaid Mobile App is a private initiative of Origgin to solve the problem of the difficulties customers go through to buy electricity credit for their smart meters and isn’t commissioned by any other party“, the release said.
It continued, “we would like to inform the general public that they can download and use the E-Prepaid Mobile App upon its release this August 2017 from the Google PlayStore at no risk and buy electricity credit without hustle or any repercussions“.
The way forward for eager electricity consumers
It turns out the Electricity Company of Ghana has a mobile app in the works already.
The application, which is available for alpha-testing (alpha versions of applications are highly unstable and can crash anytime or even act in unexpected way) can be downloaded for Android at www.ecgmobile.com/test/.
From reviews from insiders in the technology industry in Ghana, the ECG Mobile application is currently functional and can be used to buy prepaid credit for the new smart meters which have been rolled out to several households across Ghana.
It would seem that the prospective application by Origgin Technology Limited, though not in public domain yet, has prompted some quick response from the ECG resulting in a fast turnaround.
One thing that consumers can be sure of, is that when both applications go to market, it will be a battle for the best and this SHOULD drive a certain innovation from both Origgin and the ECG.