Prepaid meters not panacea to power theft – NEDCo

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The Northern Electricity Distribution Company of the Volta River Authority (NEDco-VRA) has revealed that most of its customers who engage in power theft are on prepaid meters.

NEDCo had earlier disclosed that it is on the verge of collapse because of power theft.

The company’s Corporate Communications Director, Maxwell Kotoka noted that they recorded 45% of power theft within their catchment area in the Tamale Metropolis alone.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, Mr. Kotoka said customers who use prepaid meters have a higher motivation to steal power as compared to those on postpaid meters.

“Generally we are looking at the prepaid users because the issue with the postpaid is that there is no real motivation for them to steal the power. Reasons being that as for the postpaid, you use [power], a bill is provided later then you pay. I must admit that there are instances where we are compelled to disconnect a defaulting customer but it is the prepaid meter customers who have that motivation because if they don’t have enough credits or units then they tamper with the power. Basically, it is that they find disingenuous ways of outsmarting the meters,” he added.

“The fact that the postpaid customer does not have the motivation to steal power doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t have challenge there too, we do. When they owe so much and they are not paying, that also affects the finances and the possible growth of the company,” he added.

Many have opined that the panacea to solving power theft in in Ghana that usually affects revenue of companies within Ghana’s power distribution chain was migrating postpaid customers onto prepaid meters.

But Mr. Kotaka explained that the only way they could go around it was constant monitoring and having a legal backing to prosecute offenders.

“Prepaid customers have the motivation to steal power but there are certain measures if put in place can take care of that. For instance if there are constant monitoring which we are bound to do coupled with the necessary judicial structure to prosecute offenders effectively and to get or secure the required conviction that could serve as a deterrent, why not, we are on a winning path,” the communications director stated.

By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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