The Volta River Authority (VRA) and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) (VRA/NEDCo) have disconnected over 9000 customers within the Upper East and North East Regions.
The power distribution company undertook a month-long mass revenue mobilization exercise in October 2023 across the two Regions.
The VRA/NEDCo was owed over GH¢165million out of which about GH¢55million was owed by government agencies and the rest of the amount owed by private individuals.
At a press briefing in Bolgatanga after the month-long exercise, Mr Eugene Odoi Addo, the Upper East and North East Area Manager, said VRA/NEDCo aimed to receive the monies owed them, but not to disconnect its customers.
He said “At the end of the exercise, we were able to collect about GH¢8million from the post-paid customers alone. As we went around, customers who were not about to pay a certain amount were disconnected. In all, we were able to disconnect over 9000 customers.”
He explained that the aim of the VRA/NEDCo was not to disconnect customers, “Usually our aim is not to disconnect customers. We aim to collect the money. It’s when customers fail to meet that part of their obligation, then we are sometimes forced to disconnect.”
Mr Addo said the disconnection exercise affected quarries, hospitals, and educational institutions among other government agencies.
He said some disconnected customers later made part payments and were reconnected, while others paid and signed a payment agreement with the company on how they would settle their remaining balance.
On illegal connections, Mr Addo said about 111 illegal connections were detected and victims were to make payments, adding that if any of the victims defaulted, they would be processed for Court.
The Area Manager said although the GH¢8million out of the over GH¢165million retrieved from customers could be described as a drop in the ocean, he further explained that most of the debts were from critical agencies.
“For example, some of the hospitals owe about 30 per cent of the debt and sometimes we just cannot go and disconnect. Some of the debts are clarified as legacy debts, so we can’t hold some of the facilities accountable.
“Government says it will pay those debts, so we use our Corporate Office in Tamale to engage government on those debts. That is why we couldn’t collect monies owed from most of them.
“It’s been handled at the higher level. But those that are within us, were those we were able to negotiate and collect some, while the rest were put on payment agreement,” Mr Addo said.
He said the VRA/NEDCo had made some losses in the Bawku Township from about 20 percent to about 39 percent in recent times, owing to the conflict situation in the area.
The losses, he said were indicative that some residents tempered with service connections in the area, and urged members of the public to report persons who tempered with their services.
Mr Addo gave the assurance that the identities of persons who reported such deviant acts to their office would be protected, and if the reports were verified to be true, they would be rewarded.