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Residents of Nyohini express anger against NEDCo/ VRA on new smart prepaid meters

Residents of Nyohini community a suburb of the Tamale Metropolis in the Northern Region, have raised red flags against the recent installation of new smart prepaid meters in the area.

According to the residents the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO)/ Volta River Authority (VRA) in collaboration with the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), had installed the new meters within the Nyohini community, without any explanations or education on how the new smart pre-paid meters operate.

And this, they said, had affected them negatively since the installations of the meters.

The residents at a press briefing on Saturday March 11, 2023, indicated, “power consumers of Nyohini have been subjected to deductions which have no basis, and in some cases staff of NEDCO/VRA have attempted to explain those deductions as service charges. These service charges, however, consumers have been told is deducted monthly. But our checks and calculations is a telling revelation which we think should be brought to the notice of the media”.

Abubakari Jamal, who addressed the media on behalf of the Nyohini community members, explained, “our checks reveal that each time we buy power, these service charges apply. Our question here then is, how long will the consumer in Nyohini continue to pay this high service charge which range between GHc 25 and as high as GHc 37 in some cases?”, he quizzed.

“Initially we could purchase GHc 50 worth of power and use it till the end of the month, but current hikes in power tariffs have rendered us confused as we do not know whether NEDCO/VRA in collaboration with the PURC is charging 30% as mentioned in the last tariff increment or 300%. Today, we need to buy up to GHc 350 worth of power for a whole month. This is too high considering the economic situation of our country”, he added.

He further stated that, “if these challenges persist without any solutions, our petition here and now is that NEDCO/VRA must immediately replace all our old meters without delay”.

Bellow is the full statement

PRESS RELEASE

Date: 11 March, 2023

To all media houses

HIGH COST OF POWER CONSUMPTION AND SERVICE CHARGES ON NEW SMART PRE-PAID METERS.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the media and inky fraternity. I welcome all of you to this press conference this morning, though your invitation to this event was on short notice, you have given it all the seriousness it deserves, and this action is deserving of every commendation we can afford.

First of all we are gathered here this morning to present to the media, some basic difficulties regarding our basic and universal need (electricity/power).  Ever since NEDCO/VRA in collaboration with the PURC installed new meters in households of Nyohini, we have been left on our own without any explanations on how these new smart pre-paid meters operate.

Aside this difficulty, power consumers of Nyohini have been subjected to deductions which have no basis, and in some cases staff of NEDCO/VRA have attempted to explain those deductions as service charges. These service charges, however, consumers have been told is deducted monthly, but our checks and calculations is a telling revelation which we think should be brought to the notice of the media.  

Our checks reveal that each time we buy power, these service charges apply. Our question here then, is, how long will the consumer in Nyohini continue to pay this high service charge which range between GHc 25 and as high as GHc 37 in some cases?

Initially we could purchase GHc 50 worth of power and use it till the end of the month, but current hikes in power tariffs has rendered us confused as we do not know whether NEDCO/VRA in collaboration with the PURC is charging 30% as mentioned in the last tariff increment or 300%. Today we need to buy up to GHc 350 worth of power for a whole month. This is too high considering the economic situation of our country. We are no longer able to execute other financial obligations after trying all means possible to buy power.

We believe NEDCO/VRA and PURC have connived to frustrate all efforts of consumers in our pursuits for realistic tariffs. For instance when customers buy power we do not know how many kilowatts equivalent to the amount of money we have paid. So when you go to buy power, only the amount is indicated, so where 5 kilowatts of power is sold at a GHc 100 we cannot actually tell. We therefore call for urgent inclusion of the kilowatts equivalent on all our purchases henceforth.  

In all fairness and transparency, the amounts we owe in debts to NEDCO/VRA, aside the cumbersome nature of terms of payment, concerted efforts must be made to indicate each time payments are made, and the remaining balances should be captured, so that, when payments are exhausted, both NEDCO/VRA and the customer will be on the same page.

On the NEDCO app, there are still challenges with purchasing power through customer momo accounts. There are situations where people have purchased power and have not been issued token numbers, and their monies have not been refunded. So in situations where a customer buys power late in the night through momo and their meters have not been credited nor issued a token number but their momo accounts have been debited, are left without any options to purchase power. Sometimes it takes days for a refund to be made and in most cases, the refund never happens.

It also appears the NEDCO app is not reliable and has several malfunctions which indicates the app is still under construction but has been put out into the public domain for consumption. This is not helping matters so far as our experiences in these difficult financial times where we have to struggle to make money we equally have to struggle to purchase power through this malfunctioning app.

In conclusion, if these challenges persists without any solutions, our petition here and now is that NEDCO/VRA must immediately replace all our old meters without delay. It will be recalled that NEDCO/VRA and PURC in their pursuit to change these new meters entered various areas of Nyohini with the military to forcefully install these problematic meters. If NEDCO/VRA knew they were doing the right thing, what business did the military have in the installation of new meters?  

Story By: Alhassan Yakubu |www.dimondfmonline.com |Ghana

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