The Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) says obsolete equipment and tampering are to blame for the increasing power outages that the northern sector has experienced in recent weeks.
“Obsolete equipment will be very capital intensive to replace in one day so we are doing it by piecemeal but the bottom line is cash,” the Communications Manager for NEDCo, Maxwell Kotoka said.
According to the company, which services northern Ghana, the non-payment of bills and illegal connections are also draining the company and affecting its ability to serve customers efficiently. The Tamale metropolis has experienced intermittent power outages in recent weeks and NEDCo says the problem in the northern sector goes beyond the general problem of power supply nationwide.
Mr. Kotoka also noted the theft of power and other key equipment, like earlier in April, where copper cables on towers belonging to NEDCo in the Berekum municipality of the Bono Region were stolen.
“The bottom line is cash and so like we have indicated, if people are not paying for the power they use, if people are stealing the power, then you leave us with no option but to continue with the overage equipment which will not give us optimum performance.”
“So it is a matter of everybody getting on board and getting a very live conscience which tells you that stealing from the company is killing the company.”
Debt from MDAs
NEDCo has in the past complained of crippling financial difficulties because of a debt of GHc 841 million owed it by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
According to the Commercial Manager of NEDCo, Thompson Nagaleb, very little has been done by the government to clear debts dating back to 2013.
These struggles informed NEDCo’s earlier request for almost 40 percent hike in distribution charges.
The company has proposed a 43 pesewas/kWh rate to enable it to raise enough revenue to meet the cost of production.