Regional News of Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Source: Abdul Karim Naatogmah

Consumers clash with VRA-NEDco in Tamale

Frustation over recent load shedding and severe water shortages caused unrest at a public forum on utilities held in Tamale yesterday, according to reports.

Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to engage consumers and utility service providers in the Tamale metropolis nearly turned into a boxing match as a result of the according to reports coming in from Tamale.

Aggrieved participants at the forum, which was organised by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), vented their anger on the service providers over recent utilities shortages.

One of the participants, Abass Salifu, a resident of Koblimahigu, accused VRA-NEDco of using what he described as substandard materials for their electrification project, hence the delay in giving them value for their money.

He further alleged that officials of VRA-NEDco have extorted monies from some residents of the community and failed to meet their demands.

Other equally disappointed participants expressed their displeasure at the recent shortfall in power supply which, according to them, is hindering their businesses and also damaging their electrical appliances.

Mr Samuel Sarpong explained that the forum intended to measure public opinion on the performance of the utility service providers and also to afford the companies the opportunity to explain to the consumers their challenges.

The Executive Secretary of PURC advised those in utility provision to always take advantage of such platforms to engage in healthy debate on how to satisfy their needs.

Mr Frank Akligo, Director of the Northern Sector Operations of NEDco, in an interview said his outfit needed $200 million to invest in establishing sub-stations for the next five years.

Nonetheless, he disclosed that NEDco was collaborating with the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) to increase the company’s client base at the industrial level.

Mr. Akligo added that plans were underway to collaborate with some selected filling stations and shopping malls in the Tamale metropolis to sell power to prepaid meter users after close of work.

The Northern Regional Manager of the GUWC, Mr. Kenneth Ennin, bemoaned the high cost of treating polluted water and therefore appealed to residents to desist from settling along river banks.

He said the GUWC intended to expand its treatment plants which will include the establishment of a sub-station at Yapei, to draw water from the White Volta for treatment to feed communities along that stretch.

This in his estimation will reduce the pressure on the Dalung treatment plant which is expected to reach its optimal by 2015.