Samuel Marah said EDSA staff have to brace up for the job and conduct themselves in line with best practice. He said meters, poles and cables, ladders, pliers, and computers do not involve in malpractices by themselves, but it is the individuals who use them as they interact with the gullible public. The public most times is unable to identify EDSA staff from non EDSA staff.
He said EDSA in Bo must implement measures already designed to tackle petty corruption and bribery happening in the sector. May 2017 PNB complaints report indicated bribes paid for meter replacement, new connection, reconnection, bill reduction and avoiding disconnection. These hotspots continue to feature repeatedly in the report and it is about time actions are taken. Erection of service charter indicating costs for services can be a huge measure to curbing petty corruption. According to Samuel Marah, EDSA Integrity Management Committee has a huge task to sit on the said report, and develop measures in addressing the malpractices. Measures could range from transfers, suspension, half salary, withholding of salary, or dismissal.
In the last two months, EDSA has faced increased criticisms from the public over shortage in power supply. Power outages appear to have characterized electricity distribution in Bo.
Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) Southern Coordinator told EDSA staff that they have also received complaints related to payment for maintenance of fault. Communities are asked to contribute monies for the maintenance of fault. Jeremy Simbo said, he is also frustrated at the thought that some EDSA staff do not posses identity cards and also that impersonation as EDSA staff goes unchecked. “The authority seems to be complacent, unconcerned at the ugly practices,” Mr. Simbo noted.
Augustine Tucker, senior distribution officer at EDSA, said power outages are expected to increase as the rains intensify, calling the public to bear with the Authority and report fault for immediate intervention. He said the Authority is unable to distribute satisfactory electricity to the township due to minimal power supplied to them by Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC).
According to EDSA PRO, Mohamed Koroma, plans are underway to expand distribution network to cover new settlements such as, Bo No. 2, Koribundo and elsewhere. The aging and faulty lines will also be revamped.
Head of EDSA Integrity Management Committee (IMC) said they will continue to meet to address challenges facing the Authority, and liaise with their counterpart in Freetown in order to obtain PNB complaints for Bo district and design policies addressing them.
The meeting with EDSA is in the bid to monitor its IMC to implement measures identified to tackle malpractices in the operation of the Authority. So far EDSA has set up a customer service call center with a hotline number 672 on all network; and recruitment of public relation officer in Bo to aid public sensitization campaigns.