NEDCo owed GH¢1.2bn by customers; spends GH¢120m monthly but gets GH¢85m

Electricity consumers owed the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo), a subsidiary of the Volta River Authority (VRA), about GH¢1.2 billion as at January 2023.

NEDCo, which also owes its parent company VRA GH¢1.6billion for power purchased, says it spends GH¢120million every month to make electricity available to consumers; but is only able to recoup GH¢85million monthly due to power theft and non-payment by consumers.

This means that the company which distributes electricity to consumers in the Northern, North-East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West Regions, as well as part of Ashanti, Bono, Ahafo and Oti Regions, makes monthly losses of over GH¢35million.

Meanwhile, aside from what the electricity distributor owes VRA, it is also indebted to state-owned power transmitter, Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), to the tune of GH¢48 million.

The development raises questions about the long-term sustainability of NEDCo, as the huge monthly losses are making it difficult for the company to replace obsolete equipment and undertake major repair and maintenance work in order to improve on service delivery.

Revenue collection exercise

To retrieve the funds owed it, Corporate Communication Manager at NEDCo, Maxwell Kotoka, told the B&FT that his outfit has started a revenue mobilisation exercise to recoup funds owed the company, and to weed out illegal power connections or power theft.

The exercise will cover all categories of customers within NEDCO’s jurisdiction – including state-owned enterprises (SOEs), ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).

“Any persons identified to be engaged in illegal connections would be dealt with in accordance with the law,” Mr. Kotoka warned.

He emphasised that recalcitrant customers who refuse to redeem their indebtedness to the company after they have been served with notices will face legal action.

He therefore urged the general public to cooperate with the company as it takes steps to recover funds owed it, as part of measures to ensure stable and reliable electricity supply.

Assault on NEDCo staff

Last year, staff of NEDCo in Tamale had to withdraw their services over attacks by some residents.

The workers were said to be carrying out their routine work in the area when the incident occurred.

NEDCo subsequently suspended its operations at Tamale in solidarity with its workers who were assaulted, resulting in a total blackout for some days.

Power was restored to the area after utilities regulator, the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), intervened.