VRA-NEDCo arrests 321 customers in Upper East Region over power theft

By Joshua Asaah

Bolgatanga, May 19, GNA – Three hundred and twenty-one customers who engaged in electricity power theft in the Upper East Regional operational area of the Northern Electricity Distribution Company of the Volta River Authority (VRA/NEDCo), have been arrested.

Mr William Asare, the Billing and Revenue Protection Officer for the Upper East Region operational area, said the culprits were arrested when his outfit embarked on an exercise to retrieve money owed the company.

The revenue drive started on April 18, 2023, to retrieve Ghc125 million owed by its customers in its operational area, Upper East and North East regions.

He said some of the arrested customers connected to the national grid without recourse to the authority while others tampered with the connections, “to enable them to pay less or completely pay nothing for the power used.”

Mr Asare, who was speaking to the media in Bolgatanga, said the Authority served the customers letters telling them to pay for the power they stole before they could be reconnected.

“A number of them have come to pay and have been reconnected but a good number of them haven’t also paid. Those who haven’t paid anything at all, we will take them through the law,” he said.

He said his outfit would compile a list of all offenders who had not paid, for a court summons to be prepared for them.

He warned the public against illegal electricity connections and said it was not only a crime but denied the authority the needed revenue to fully supply power to the public.

After a month of revenue mobilization drive, the Billing and Revenue Protection Officer said VRA/NEDCo in the Upper East Region operational area raked in about Ghc7.9 million from defaulting customers who owed the company.

“Every month, we bill our postpaid customers averagely about 5.8 million cedis so if within this period we have collected 7.9 million cedis, what it tells us is that if we sustain it, at least we will be collecting our current bills in a little of the arrears and the bills will not pile up. So, we are very excited,” he stated.

Mr Asare said with the amount retrieved, it was expected that his outfit would sustain the exercise to help them to stay in business.

A little over 6,321 customers owing various sums of money were disconnected.

Some of those customers he said had paid and were reconnected to the nation’s grid while others who could not pay all at once, entered an agreement with VRA/NEDCo to settle their bills over a period.

The Area Engineer, Mr Ismael Ben Kwofie lamented that the conflict in Bawku had affected its revenue drive as contractors engaged to retrieve monies were not willing to go to the company’s yard located in the heart of Bawku to get materials for the repair of broken lines for fear of their lives because of the protracted conflict in the area.

“When you take Bolga, our next bread basket is in Bawku followed by Navrongo. But for the past two years, we have gotten almost nothing from Bawku even though we don’t fail to improve the service delivery there,” he added.

He said the VRA/NEDCo did not take delight in plunging areas in darkness because when that happened would lose revenue.