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.