In her maiden speech at the official launching of the Ministry of Energy and Power website and News letter, the Minister in charge, Haja Afsatu Kabba disclosed that “revenue collection at the National Power Authority (NPA) has increased from 1 billion Leones a month to 2.5 billion a month.
Speaking at the Ministry of Information and Communication yesterday, she disclosed that, “the former inefficient commercial department has been placed under a microscope and performance standards has also improved as the four month backlog of sending out electricity bills have been cleared.
She intimated that from November 2006 to February 2007, the old former administration only collected Le 3.1 billion, stating that as at February 2008 “the commercial department collected Le 7.1 billion, an increase of 125% in the revenue collection”.
She maintained that the production and sale of electricity has increased by over 100%, an aggressive Le 3 billion repairs and maintenance program was implemented for NPA’s transmission and distribution facilities. This, she said, has added more customers to the power grid.
According to the Minister, a debt management team was put in place to develop strategies to pay back the Le 23.4 billion ($7 Million) debt left by the former management.
A tariff setting process and a tariff modeling is in place, recommending for a complete cost recoverable tariff that is fair and equitable to consumers and NPA, said the Minister.
She explained that, when she took over as Minister, it was no secret that the management of NPA for over 20 years was infested with several problems, and these include; poor management of the Authority as a whole; not conducting maintenance on NPA generators; transmission and distribution facilities; mismanagement of the Authority’s revenues; non collection of billed revenues; lack of money to purchase fuel to generate electricity; lack of money to pay creditors; staff salaries and pensions for four months among others.
Afsatu however disclosed that, “the challenges on the energy sector especially NPA are daunting but not insurmountable”, noting that state of the transmission and distribution network need to be rehabilitated, pre-paid meters and logical limitations of the NPA needs urgent attention.
On water and sector projects, she pointed out that, upon assuming office, an assessment reveals that in the provincial regions the supply of pipe borne water is either non existent or limited to 25% coverage.
In the Western Area, she said that the rapid development around the catchment area of the Guma Dam is hampering our water collection.
She said that the government was committed to increasing the availability of pipe borne water in the Western Area and the Urban Centers in the Provincial Regions to 100% in the medium to long term. Haja Afsatu Kabba noted that government and our international partners are providing support to the Guma Valley Water Company (GVWC), SALWACO and the water supply division. She stressed that government continues to engage its development partners to provide funding and technical assistance to support the water supply and sanitation sector. GVWC she said is also actively looking into the construction of the Orugu Dam to increase water supply in Freetown; and its bore holes construction is also being actively pursued.
By Abibatu Kamara