Tamale Against Pre-Paid Bills
9/15/2012 1:15:46 PM -
Residents of Tamale have issued a week's ultimatum to officials of the Volta River Authority (VRA) to remove the prepaid meters it has begun installing in various homes or incur their wrath thereafter.
They have accused management VRA of installing the new prepaid meters to rob them, as their checks revealed the consumption of the new meters were extremely high as compared to the previous ones.
The angry residents who poured onto the principal streets of Tamale last Thursday, promised to stage series of demonstrations if the VRA failed to uninstall the meters within the stipulated period.
Numbering over 1000 and clad in red armbands, chanting war songs with sections holding tree branches, the residents claimed it was a deliberate attempt by the VRA to harvest where they had not sown.
The demonstrators from all age groups displayed placards some of which read, 'Our no is our no'; 'We do not like the new meters'; 'Take your faulty meters away'; 'V.R.A don't underestimate your customers'; 'Your gargantuan meters are dissipating our incomes' and 'V.R.A, you should listen to your customers' and insisted VRA must remove the said meters if it wanted peace to prevail in the region.
They claimed that the VRA did not consult them as major stakeholders before installing the meters and described the action by the power provider as unilateral.
The group later presented a petition to the Northern Regional Minister, Moses Bukari Mabengba through his Coordinating Director, Mr. Alhassan Issahak for onward submission to the Ministry of Energy for immediate intervention.
Mr. Issahak promised to forward their grievances to the right quarters for the necessary attention as the regional minister was not readily available.
In the petition, the residents also complained about the frequent rate at which they purchased credit for power and claimed either the new meters were faulty or the consumers were being short-changed.
However, the Human Resource Manager of VRA, Mr. John Teye has denied the claims, stating that before the installation exercise, his outfit embarked on sensitization a programme about the usage of the new meters.
'The truth about the matter is that with this new meter, consumers cannot do any 'by-pass' to steal power lest there would be no reason for the change of the meters,' he maintained.
According Mr. Teye, residents tempered with the old meters and bought power for GH¢50 and used it for over six months in an illegal connection termed 'by-pass.'
He urged consumers to exercise maximum restraint and to contact the management for verification and redress of the difficulties they might be encountering with the new system.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale