Upper West Region owes NEDCo over GH¢107 million

Volta River Authority 12 Volta River Authority (VRA)

Fri, 7 Apr 2023 Source: GNA

The Northern Electricity Company (NEDCo) of the Volta River Authority (VRA) says its customers in the Upper West Region owed the company more than GH¢107 million.

Of the amount, government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, including Municipal and District Assemblies, owed about GH₵82 million while private entities owed about GH¢25 million.

Mr Francis Yormesor, the Wa Area Manager of the VRA-NEDCo, disclosed this in Wa during a Consumer Clinic organised by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC).

The forum was to create an avenue for utility consumers to share their challenges and complaints for redress.

It was also to provide a platform for the PURC to strengthen its education on the rights and responsibilities of utility consumers and how to demand those rights.

Representatives from the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), VRA-NEDCo, traditional leaders, Heads of Department, business operators, and other utility consumers in the region attended the forum.

Mr Yormesor said the company was in talks with the government to help settle its debt as a chunk of the debt was from the government sector.

“We are embarking on a mass disconnection exercise and the Agencies, Departments, Ministries, and MMDAs will not be spared.

You cannot disconnect some essential institutions like the regional hospitals and there is the need to do some negotiations for the government to do the needful,” he explained.

Mr Yormesor identified power theft through illegal connections as a major challenge to the company and warned that any customer caught in that act would be served with a demand notice and to pay the bill or face prosecution.

“With the prepaid customer, they think nobody comes there and because there is no meter reading it is free, but please be warned, we have our men monitoring, and now we have a programme where we go around in the evening with the assistance of the police.

This is because most people have now strategised and are stealing power in the evening, especially water producers, they do most of their productions in the night, you go in the daytime and there is nothing there, we are coming after them,” the Wa Area Manger said.

The Wa Area of the VRA-NEDCo covered parts of the Savannah Region and the entire Upper West Region with a total customer base of 137,000 of which 53 per cent were on prepared meter and 47 per cent on postpaid meter.

The entire area was served from three bulk supply points at Sawla in the Savannah Region and Wa and Tumu in the Upper West Region.

Mr Kwasi Abebrese, the Upper West Regional Chief Manager of the GWCL, explained that customers of the company in the region owed it about GH¢2.5 million as at end of March 2023.

He said as part of efforts to recoup their monies, they had begun serving notices to defaulting customers and any customer who failed to respond to their notice within 14 days would risk being prosecuted, adding that a first set of 20 customers were being processed for court.

Mr Abebrese explained that the region had an abundance of water but was challenged with limited distribution lines.

He indicated that the company currently had about 10,000 customers and about 60,000 consumers in the region and that they were working hard to ensure they covered most of the population in the urban centres.

Mr James Suntaa Kubgee, the President of the Upper West Regional Bar Association, commended the PURC for organising the forum to enlighten the utility consumers on how to lodge their complaints with the commission.

He also appreciated the challenges the utility companies were facing in providing quality service to meet customers’ expectations.

Source: GNA
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