The Volta River Authority/Northern Electricity Distribution Company (VRA/NEDCo) has announced that it has been able to retrieve 8 million cedis out of the 165 million cedis debt from customers in the Upper East region. This debt recovery effort that started at the beginning of October throughout the entire NEDCo operational area was targeted at retrieving revenue owed to the company.
The Area Manager of VRA/NEDCo in the Upper East Region, Ing. Eugene Odoi Addo during a press briefing said the debt recovery process involved various measures, including disconnecting services of customers who refused to pay. Even though the company recorded 165 million debts, Ing. Addo said some of the debts “may be billing errors and untraceable debts” that may be difficult to retrieve.
“The hospitals in the region owe about 35 percent of the debt and sometimes you can’t just go there and disconnect. Some of the debts too are classified as legacy debts so you can’t hold some of those facilities accountable for those debts. So, we always want to use our head office in Tamale to collect those debts and that is why we couldn’t collect most of them”
Regardless, he said VRA/NEDCo will ensure that monies owed to the company are retrieved to ensure the financial stability of the company and maintain a reliable electricity supply to the region.
Among the places affected by this exercise included some municipal and district assemblies, health training institutes, quarry companies, and residential places in the region. Ing. Addo mentioned that 101 illegal power thefts were detected during the exercise and the culprits were processed to pay for the power they consumed.
Due to the unstable situation in Bawku as a result of a tribal conflict, Ing Addo said the situation is affecting revenue drive and also contributing to illegal connections.
“The loss in Bawku township, for example, has increased from about 20 percent to almost 39 percent in recent times and that is indicative of the fact that there have been increases in tampering of service connection in the area. We have staff there but we can’t go and carry out similar exercises to clamp down activities of illegal connection at this time”
The VRA/NEDCo Area Manager has therefore called on the public to volunteer and report people and institutions engaging in power theft while assuring that “we usually protect the identities of whistleblowers and we have an incentive of 100 cedis for people who report illegal connection”