EDSA discovers massive electricity theft in Freetown

Lansana Fofanah: 3 September 2019:

Sierra Leone’s Electricity Distribution & Supply Authority (EDSA), spends huge sums of money in purchasing power from the Electricity Generating & Transmission Company (EGTC) and Independent Power Providers (IPP),  to meet the growing demand of electricity in Freetown and surrounding communities.

But faced with serious challenges, including illegal connections, wrong tariffs, and multiple connections, the company has been running into huge financial loss due to the fraudulent acts of some customers.

On Monday, 12th August 2019, the Director-General of EDSA – Dr. Joe-Lahai Sormana and his Deputy – Ing Francis Nyama, conducted on-the-spot checks on its business and commercial customers across various parts of Freetown, in what was seen as a proactive move.

Speaking about the operation, Dr. Sormana expressed his disappointment with most of the customers they visited, who were either on the  wrong tariffs or not in compliance with EDSA’s regulations and requirements with regards electrical connection and installation.

“We understand that it is our responsibility at EDSA to distribute power in a safe and reliable manner.  It is important to note that EDSA does not generate/produce power.  We purchase power from EGTC and other IPPs and resell the power to our customers.

“We rely on the revenue generated from the sale of electricity to run our operations and supply electricity to the people of Sierra Leone.  However, not being able to collect all our revenue from the sale of electricity makes it very challenging for us at EDSA to continue to supply electricity.

“A huge amount of our revenue is lost due to illegal abstraction of electricity, customers being on the wrong tariff category and paying less than they should be paying for electricity; and multiple customers feeding from a single meter, ” Dr. Sormana said.

The investigating team was shocked to discover that some business houses such as supermarkets and hotels that should be operating on Tariff Band Two to Four, are registered on Tariff One, which is the same tariff as domestic consumers.

At the West Africa Sunshine residential area in Aberdeen, it was discovered that the Chinese-run estate where a transformer was installed, also runs on Tariff Band One despite the use of heavy consuming appliances.

It was also discovered that IPC now operates as an independent power supply in the compound with a meter system, which according to EDSA they are not aware of.

Dr. Sormana also mentioned that more reforms will be done at EDSA, as most of the illegal activities are carried out with the collaboration and cooperation of some unscrupulous EDSA staff, who are bent on sabotaging the company for selfish purposes.

He admonished defaulters not to tamper with their electricity connections, as to do so is a crime and that EDSA will soon start disconnecting business customers, if they fail to adhere to the law. He assured that the on the spot checks will not stop until they sanitize the sector.

The Deputy Director-General – Ing Francis Nyama, said that EDSA will be embarking on massive checks and ensure proper metering. “We have identified the problems. All we need now is a solution that will bring a win-win situation, ” he said.

8 Comments

  1. Thanks Mr. Bilal Coleman for your thoughts. What I was talking about has nothing to do with POLITICS but, what was signed between ministers and President BIO. The CHIEF MINISTER was tasked to oversee this contract. If something goes wrong, the CHIEF MINISTER is also questionable in my view.
    The President was very clear about the guidelines of the MINISTERIAL PERFORMANCE CONTRACT. Everyone involved must just play their part. The people at the top are the first point of questioning if something goes wrong. Do you agree with me?
    I will advice you to click the link below and read the article. May be, that would help you understand my point. GOD BLESS YOU.

    https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/?s=ministerial+performance+contract

  2. Dear EDSA, it’s a shame that your”e casting blame on the citizens of Freetown because as an essential and important entity you have NEVER lived up to expectations. With the 99% suffering masses, you sell meters, including reconnection up to the tune of over a million Leones.

    Secondly, these meters are not available; thirdly, the old meters run at THINK OF ANY NUMBER charge and it ends up WAIVING bills privately. Next, light that should serve for a month lasts three to four months because of inappropriate distribution. And this type of distribution GREATLY AFFECTS big bzness centers who end up using generators.

    Do you really want to see proceeds? Then start by changing these archaic meters to prepaid for EVERY household and stop charging exhobitantly because WE pay METER CHARGE every month even when electricity supply is not available. The massive electricity theft is an inclusive one. So don’t just blame it on the people! And MAKE ELECTRICITY SUPPLY SUSTAINABLE! YOU’LL SEE…

  3. The theft of electricity is one that has been going on for decades. I have made reports several times but nothing ever happens. Rather you end becoming your thieving neighbours’ enemy. It is the workers who connive to have these arrangements made. The minister or his deputy have different responsibilities and cannot be out on the streets monitoring on a daily basis. Let’s be real about the problems in our country and stop the blame game. Perhaps some people can volunteer to assist in the monitoring process. God bless.

  4. If I were the overall head of Sierra Leone’s Electricity Distribution & Supply Authority [EDSA],Dr Joe Lahai Sormana and his deputy Francis Nyama would be looking for another job this minute for inexplicable incompetence and negligence shrouded in absent mindedness.It is a strain of incompetence and negligence which falls outside the realm of logic.

    How can somebody be the head of anything as sensitive as the supply of electricity in a country who allows himself to be so gullible and hood-winked by people who use his service ? This means that the distinguished Doctor displayed no ability to pay attention to details;he is the type that would hand over his briefcase to a known criminal for safe keeping and still wonder why it went missing.

    If Dr Sormana was out to stage a public relations coup it was a disaster.He most certainly did not convince me and other discernible people that he knew his job and domain;he ought to have been even ashamed to mention that some of his staff members were involved in electricity thievery by conniving with people and businesses to defraud EDSA of much needed funds.Has he shown the staff members involved the door? I doubt it.

    The article does not mention anything about any legal action being in the offing for EDSA to recoup all monies lost during the period in question to businesses and individuals – or have the hands of Dr Sormana and his deputy been greased?

    Sierra Leone has a long way to go to full recovery if all we can come up with are leaders with doctorate degrees who cannot manage as small an entity as the supply of electricity.

    Oh and I hope Kutubu Koroma who gave an audio lecture in social media the other day to the Central Bank Governor on how to resuscitate the Leone against the American Dollar will see this article and extend his lecture to Dr Sormana on the simple methods he should use to straighten his act. It’s all free of charge.

  5. One of the primary reasons why investors will pull out of any nation is the culture of stealing which this government must try to minimize in order to not only attract but sustain investors. I was surprised when I listened to the prime time news on the AYVTV last week when a member of parliament for a constituency in Lungi said some people stole parts from some transformers to sell as scrap metals which is the main cause of the blackout they have been experiencing for months.

    Some customers are even conniving with EDSA workers by connecting direct current from the high voltage wires from the street poles and bypassing the meters. This is not only a crime but danger to lives and properties.

    I hope that the government will continue to pursue those culprits and bring them to justice.

  6. What is wrong with The MINISTERIAL PERFORMANCE CONTRACT the government established early this year? Is it really being enforced by the CHIEF MINISTER – Professor Francis? If it is effectively enforced, such things will not happen in my view. To you the CHIEF MINISTER for answers over this careless behaviour by some government officials; and may GOD BLESS YOU.

    • Sahr Matturi, Is it really necessary to throw politics into this issue? The Minister of Energy is the political head of EDSA. But EDSA has professional heads who run the institution on a day to day basis. The article discusses at length how those professional heads are investigating fraudulent consumers and how they would bring them to justice. Why drag the Minister into this, Sahr? Is the problem not being taken care of by competent heads?

  7. The Director-General of EDSA – Dr. Joe-Lahai Sormana and his Deputy ought to know better. They should do more on the spot control of their staffs not only for the services that they render their customers but also the quality.

    For the country to progress we need efficient and reliable institutions but the majority of our institutions underperform.

    Trust is good, control is better. If Dr. Joe-Lahai Sormana and Mr. Nyama are not up to the job, then it’s time for them to GO!!!

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