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Ahead of three-day national lockdown…

Hundreds queue at NPA to purchase credit

SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 By Victoria Saffa and Patrick J. Kamara

Hundreds of customers yesterday rushed to the headquarters of the National Power Authority (NPA) on Siaka Steven Street to purchase credit for their pre-paid meters ahead of the three-day national lockdown.

The lockdown, according to head of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), Steven Gaojia, will last for three days, beginning 19 September, with an estimated twenty-one thousand health workers and volunteers expected to reach every household to sensitise on Ebola and distribute hand washing soap to residents.

Many in the queue who spoke to Concord Times said they were in a rush to purchase recharge credits for their pre-paid meters, with some fearing the three-day lockdown might be extended to twenty-one days.

Though there is no official confirmation of the rumour, yet it did not deter the crowd from standing in the queue for hours, jostling for space to secure units which will last them at least for the weekend.

According to Abdul Swaray, who was sweating profusely as he waited in the queue, there are rumours making the round that government might extend the three days sit-at-home to twenty-one days.

He said: “We want to prepare ourselves before the ‘stay at home’ because electricity is important for every home. But I have been in the queue for over four hours. Before now NPA used two entrances, but today only a route has been provided for all these people you are seeing,” he said, pointing to the long queue of customers who waited patiently to purchase electricity recharge coupons.

On her part, Hajaratu Turay alleged that workers at the state-run power company were planning to increase the price of the unit, the reason they were restricted to just a single entrance.

But that allegation was not independently verified by Concord Times.

Turay lamented the fact that the power generating authority has been unable to decentralize the sale of pre-paid credits.

However, when asked why she had not used the various commercial banks to purchase credit, she argued that banks now close at 1:30pm and that workers at the banks pay scant attention to those who go there to recharge their meters.

“We have been standing in the sun since this morning, all what they could tell us is that ‘the system is down’. The security has blocked the entrance on us. I am disgruntled at the snail pace at which the queue is moving, and the workers don’t even have sympathy for us,” she protested.

However, an orderly at the main entrance who at first refused to talk to Concord Times, quipped that the queue was meant to prevent overcrowding in the main building.