The Northern Electricity Department (NED) of the Volta River Authority (VRA) has an interesting history and plays a significant role in providing electricity to the northern regions of Ghana. Here is a summary of its history and operations:
1. Establishment in 1987:
– NED was established in 1987 as part of VRA’s efforts to extend its 161kV transmission grid to the northern regions of Ghana. This extension aimed to provide electricity to areas in the Brong-Ahafo, Northern, Upper East, and Upper West Regions.
2. Power Sector Reform (PSR) Programme:
– In June 1994, the Government of Ghana initiated the Power Sector Reform (PSR) program to improve efficiency and managerial effectiveness in the energy sector. As part of this reform, VRA’s management took steps to restructure NED and enhance its operations.
3. Creation of NEDCo:
– In 1997, VRA Management registered the Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCo) as a wholly owned VRA subsidiary with its own Board of Directors. This move was part of the PSR efforts to create a more focused and efficient entity responsible for electricity distribution in the northern regions.
4. Full Operationalization as a Subsidiary:
– NEDCo was fully operationalized as a wholly-owned subsidiary in May 2012. This marked the formal transition of operations from NED to NEDCo.
5. Expansion of Service Area:
– NEDCo’s service area has expanded over the years, now covering not only the original northern regions but also parts of Oti, Ashanti, and Western North regions. This expansion reflects the commitment to extending electricity services to more areas.
6. Customer Growth:
– NEDCo has experienced significant customer growth over the years. The customer population has grown from less than 20,000 in 1987 to 888,023 by March 2019. This growth is a testament to the increasing demand for electricity services in the region.
7. Challenges in Customer Density:
– Despite the expansion and customer growth, the customer density in NEDCo’s operational area remains relatively low. Access to electricity was at 65% as of December 2017, compared to about 84% for the entire country. This suggests that there is still work to be done to increase electricity access in the region.
8. Government’s Vision:
– The government of Ghana has set a vision to make electricity available to at least 90% of the population by 2020. To achieve this goal, power extension projects have been undertaken in new towns and communities that were previously not served by NEDCo.
NEDCo’s role in extending electricity services to the northern regions of Ghana and its continued efforts to improve access and customer service aligns with the broader objectives of the government to enhance energy access and support economic development in these areas.