We’ll deal with power thieves in new regulations

Mr. Amewu(standing) giving his address during a meeting with NEDCo officials  (3)

Mr. Amewu(standing) giving his address during a meeting with NEDCo officials (3)

Sanctions for illegal power connection and related offences are being toughened up in an ongoing review of various regulations by the Ministry of Energy.

According to the Minister of Energy, John Peter Amewu, the review is part of efforts to clamp down on the wanton power theft which was costing the country millions of cedis.

At a meeting with officials of the Northern Electricity Distribution Company, (NEDCo,) in Tamale on Monday, he said the current sanctions were not punitive hence the continued lawlessness.

“The level of penalty of this law is not deterring at all. So I can assure you that we have started reviewing that regulation so that the punishment will be deterrent enough for people who are caught in power theft” he said.

The meeting was part of the Minister’s maiden working visit to the region. He was accompanied by Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, a Deputy sector Minister and some leading officials from the ministry.

Power theft including illegal connection, meter bypassing and meter tampering, is widespread in the country despite prosecution and convictions of perpetrators.

Last year, management of the NEDCo said the company was at the verge of collapse largely due to power theft with 45 per cent of the illegality recorded in Tamale.

 

Despite efforts by management of NEDCo to reduce the illegalities, it came to light at the meeting with the Minister, that the practice was still ongoing in various parts of the region.

Mr Amewu also cautioned staff of the various power companies who connived with costumers to steal power, to stop else they would be dealt with drastically, if caught.

“So of course, if you are a district manager and you find out that in your district there is power theft happening, we cannot leave you also alone. You need to be held responsible,” he said.

Earlier the Minister and his entourage paid a courtesy call on the Yagbunwura Tuntunba Boresa I, Overlord of the Gonja Kingdom, where he called on traditional leaders in the area to support seismic exploration of oil in the Voltaian basin by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

The Voltaian Basin covers about 40 per cent of the country’s land mass including part of the Northern Region with significant potential to hold significant petroleum resources.

Mr Amewu said the government was determined to find oil in the area adding that, the GNPC’s success would help improve the socio-economic development of the people in the area.

During a similar call on the regional minister, the Deputy Energy Minister, Dr Adam, said GNPC was making inroads with its search for oil in the basin and urged for continuous support from all stakeholders.

 From Jonathan Donkor, Tamale

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