The police in Tamale have arrested 24 residents of Dohanayili, a suburb of Tamale, for allegedly stealing power from the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo).
The suspects were arrested in a joint clamp down by the police and NEDCo officials on illegal power connection in the Tamale metropolis.
NEDCo also recovered GH¢75,098 from some residents who had connected power illegally.
Another batch of about 100 residents in the metropolis who illegally connected power to their homes are also being processed for court.
Addressing journalists in Tamale last Thursday, the Corporate Communications Director of NEDCo, Mr Maxwell Kotoka, said illegal connection of power or ‘power theft’ and attacks on staff of NEDCo on disconnection exercises to help retrieve money owed by customers, were the two major challenges facing the company.
He expressed concern over the high incidence of illegal connections in Tamale which was affecting revenues of the company.
The company recorded 45 per cent revenue loss in the Northern Region as a result of power theft.
He cited Aboabo, Zogbeli, Lamakara, Changli, Gumbihini and Dohanayili as some of the hotspots for illegal power connections.
Mr Kotoka said the refusal of some customers to pay the actual tariff for power consumed was also hampering their operations in the region.
Attacks on staff
“Recently, NEDco staff have been suffering myriad cases of assault, threat to life, intimidation, physical hindrances and harassment in the course of discharging their legitimate duties as responsible civil servants, from a number of defaulting customers,” he said.
Mr Kotoka also expressed worry about the rate at which defaulting customers continued to ignore court summons in the region but gave an assurance that management would continue to intensify monitoring and disconnection exercises without prior announcement.
Mr Kotoka said the management of NEDco had also adopted a strategy to name and shame all persons caught dealing in illegal connection to deter other consumers from committing similar offences.
“We are going to liaise with the opinion leaders to hold public fora within the communities and sensitise residents to the impropriety of all forms of conduct that prevent NEDCo from undertaking its lawful duties within the community,” he stressed.
On July 5, 2017, angry youths of Dohanayili attacked some workers of NEDco for assisting a court bailiff to serve court summons on some residents in the community to explain in court why they failed to appear before it.
The youth, thinking that the NEDco staff were in the community for a mass disconnection exercise, chased them with machetes, clubs and other offensive weapons but the workers managed to escape unhurt.
With the assistance of the police, the exercise was successfully carried out leading to the arrest of the 24 persons.