October 1, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Commercial Manager of the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) has lamented the delay in the payment of postpaid meter bills by ministries, departments and agencies, coupled with illegal abstraction of electricity as an impediment on the financial viability of the sector.
Charles Ibrahim was speaking on Friday September 27, 2019 at the Miatta Conference Centre during the presentation of the authority’s budget for 2020 and 2021/2022 income statement projections, as well as strategic plan and income and expenditure for the year under review.
He stressed the need for the installation of more prepaid meters and replacement of faulty ones through various source of financing to help increase revenue and reduce debt.
“The vandalization of network assets, high cost of purchasing power from IPPs compared to sales of electricity, currency fluctuation and volatile of oil prices in the internal markets were all threats to the agency’s survival,” he said.
EDSA is asking for a total of three hundred and five billion and seven hundred and forty nine million nine hundred and twenty one Leones (Le 305,749,921) for the 2020 financial year, to enhance the delivery of affordable, accessible and quality electricity supply across the country.
He however noted that the distribution network is aged with some of its assets still in service for over fifty years, and have outlived their economic life cycle.
He added that the situation has caused poor network performance and that there are inadequate materials for network maintenance.
“There is also a slow pace of electrifying district headquarter towns and rural communities to increase access due to lack of funds,” he noted.
He said there were opportunities for the expansion of network through electrification of underserved communities in Freetown as well as in the provinces.
He assured of the agency’s readiness to mobilise the distribution of investment over the period 2020-2022, targeting network upgrade, reinforcement, and expansion and customer connection to the grid.
He said they have put together a vigorous system loss reduction plan and possible restructuring of tariff in collaboration with stakeholders.
Chief Finance Officer, Everisto Gwaridza assured that management would work towards a total loss reduction, deployment of a robust information technology infrastructure and increasing revenue collection, as well as operational efficiency.
He called for the continued support from government, especially in ensuring that all monies owed by ministries, departments and agencies are paid during the 2020 financial year.
“The 2020 capital expenditure seeks to invest in robust operational system that would streamline and improved operational efficiency of the authority. This is why 39% of the capital expenditure has been budgeted for ICT infrastructure,” he said.
He added that 36% of capital budget has been allocated for the purchase of meters to clear the existing installation backlog for both prepaid customers and migration of postpaid customers to prepaid platform.