October 25, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
Lawmakers on the Oversight Committee on Energy on Wednesday October 23, 2019 criticised the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) for proposing an increment in the price of electricity tariff, citing frequent power outage in Freetown and its surroundings.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Kekura Vandi told EDSA that the proposed increment was neither necessary nor would it solve the current problem faced by consumers.
He said although the authority will be given its reasons for the proposed increment, it would still not change the mind-set of the people.
He added that there were too many faulty meters in every areas of the country, thus urging them to address the issue with immediate effect.
He said they did discover several loopholes with complaints from customers, but that the committee would find suitable time to bring together staff in the provinces and those at the Headquarter to address the issues.
“We want to hear at least by next week that EDSA is making huge profit rather than always complaining. If you have problem come to us. Parliament is always ready to help if you so need us. You are complaining of electricity theft, people will always do it if they are not given the facility. They will not see electricity in the next door and expect them to stay in the dark,” he said.
Hon. Bashiru Silikie also expressed similar disappointment at EDSA, stating that a lot of loan and grant agreements have been ratified by parliament to boost the energy sector, with no visible improvement.
He said all the challenges that EDSA had submitted to the committee are issues that have long been at the authority, with nothing seems to be done in addressing them.
“The lists of MDAs you submitted to us for failing to pay are all old names and no measure has been put in place to cut down those debtors. You could have given them pre-paid meters to run their offices which could guarantee you to collect more monies. You are bringing too many excuses and we will not take such. We are not ready to accept those excuses,” he said.
He said if the management cannot perform as expected, they should be ready to quit and allow those that are ready to work.
“You cannot put us to ransom. You cannot buy at high cost and sell at low price. We will not accept such statement,” he said.
Hon. Silikie continued to state that customers have no access to meters, a situation that forced them to do illegal connection.
He noted that there were too many break down of transformers in many communities, with no remedies to address the situation.
He urged EDSA to pay the money they owe EGTC as they have a lot of problems to solve, adding that there are faulty machines at EGTC that needed immediate redress.
Hon. Aaron A. Koroma bemoaned the inefficiencies in the ways and manner EDSA carry out their work and that such must be addressed.
Earlier, a representative of Electricity Generation and Transmission Commission (EGTC) Sinneh Kamara said they have difficulty in sharing their assets with EDSA, and that they lack the capacity to run an effective and efficient operations of their power plant.
He said they were repairing a 2 Mega Watt power plant at Lungi,which is yet to be completed, adding that they wanted to procure additional spare parts for their machine generating capacities at Port Loko, but there was no funding.
He said they are looking forward to MPs for amending the EGTC Act, which will allow them to sell power to bigger companies that will give them money to operate well and run their activities properly.
Also, Deputy Director General of Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA), Ing. Francis Nyma, admitted that EDSA has no competition in the market, adding that they have good working relationship with both their foreign and local customers.
He said they have encounter a delay in receiving payment from customers, especially ministries, department and agencies, and that their customers owe them billions of Leones.