General News of Saturday, 15 July 2017
The Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) in the aftermath of an impasse between the Dohinaayili community in the Tamale metropolis has made a rare full disclosure of names of illegal users and amount of power stolen by these customers in the community.
In what was supposed to be friendly news conference by the company and representatives of the troubled community, Nedco named some twenty four (24) residents and said a total estimated power of GH75,098.15 were stolen by them.
It will be recalled that last week, the company after an exhaustive deliberations between leaders of Dohinaayili finally resolved an impasse where the entire overcrowded suburb was plunged into a lengthy power cut for attacking staff of the company who were in the area to assist a bailiff serve writs to power thieves.
The company had refused to restore power back to the community after a provocative rainstorm which swept through the metropolis and toppled utility poles affecting power supply.
The company had refused to allow its staff into the community to fix the fault citing security concerns after the rowdy youth after chasing away the workers, warned to harm them if they return to the area to carry out the exercise.
However, the power distributor after several meetings with authorities in the community restored power, and held a joint news conference on Thursday, July 13 to cement the agreement to suspend aggressive actions against each other.
Nedco, however, shocked the assembly man of the community and the Palace elder, when it decided to use the opportunity to “name and shame” residents who stole power.
Corporate Communications Manager, Maxwell Kotoka said the decision to now name and shame customers involved in illegal connections is the latest strategy to fight illegal users.
He warned that Nedco would continue to be “firm, resolute, consistent, vigorous, ruthless and unrelenting” in its war against power theft and said those who were planning to intimidate its staff must rethink.
Mr. Maxwell also rendered an unqualified apology to “well meaning, decent and tariff paying residents” who were affected by the power cut. He said the company regretted every inconvenience caused adding “we simply had to protect the lives of our staff.”
Nedco said its staff would not risk their lives and safety to work for the comfort of communities where they are endangered and thus said it will respond appropriately anytime its member is assaulted.
“Electricity, like any other commodity must be paid for once it is acquired or used. Ours as distributors is to make electricity available in its right quantity and quality and as consumer, once you use or acquire the electricity, you must pay for it, so it simply cannot be that any legitimate move by NEDCo to claim monies owed it or power stolen from it is seen as harassment”, the communications manager said.