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Comparative Outlook Of The National Power Authority: Past & Present in Sierra Leone
Nov 24, 2008, 17:10
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The new Management of the National Power Authority (NPA), under the regime of HE. Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and supervised by Hon Afsatu Kabba Dr. Zubairu Kaloko, has completed its first year in the running of the Authority. According to reports, most employees in the NPA have been taking a comparative overview of the institution in terms of performance in the past and present.

Dr. Kaloko with the Bo-Kenema Chief Executive, Mr Beresford Tagoe, at the Tinkonko Road power house in Bo.

Reports say that the period immediately following the appointment of Dr. Zubairu Kaloko as General Manager on 19th November, 2007 to present day, ushered in great improvement and development in the overall operations of NPA, as a result of the innovative and proactive leadership of the new management. Stating achievements of the new management under the leadership of Dr. Zubairu A. Kaloko, the report highlights the management strategies used and positive social impacts resulting thereof, due to improved electricity generation and enhanced revenue collection during the period under review.

Japanese Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Keiichi Katakami with NPA GM, Dr Zubairu Kaloko (Left), declaring the commencement of the construction of a powerhouse

Before 19th November, 2007 under the previous Management, reports say, the NPA was characterized by gross mismanagement and such problems as accrued creditors debts to the tune of Le 23.4 billion; 4 months backlog of staff salaries and pensions; lack of funds to buy fuel oil and spare parts for the generating plants, repair transmission & distribution (T&D) lines; lack of communication equipment, computers, stationery, safety gears and other logistical items to enahance the production of jobs assigned to staff; overstaffing with low morale of staff; poor electricity generation and low revenue collection; and poor state of the Western Area transmission and distribution network.

NPA Boss, Dr Zubairu Kaloko, sensitizing personnel on good management at the King Tom Power Station recently

The reports confirm that between the 19th of November, 2007 and 19th November, 2008 the new management has significant mechanisms in place that has improved the progress of the Authority. The reports indicates the payment of 4 months backlog of staff salaries and pensions, amounting o Le 2.5 billion; prompt payment of salaries and pensions; partial rehabilitation of the transmission and distribution network in the Western Area; improvement in electricity generation, from 5 MW to 25 MW ( an increase of 400%).

The improvement is as a result of the 15 MW and 10 MW of power supplied by Globa Trading Group at Kingtom an Income Electrix Ltd at Blackhall Road. There is also improvement in revenue collection (from Le 1 billion per month to Le 4 billion per month), and an increase of 200%. Le 37.9 billion has been collected for the period December 2007 to 18th November 2008. This money was utilized to meet NPAs daily operational expenses, including the purchase of diesel for electric generation, payment of salaries and pensions administration and general expenses. Part payment of the Le 23.4 billion accrued debts; opening of additional payment centres in the banks for customers; bills; creation of 15 Management Effieiency Teams to effectively and efficiently manage the Authority; development of a Business and a master Plan for the Authority, training of both management and the general staff in order to improve their efficiency; procurement of logistics, including VHF communication sets, computers and safety equipment; introduction of control measures in all departments, particularly the commercial Department, to reduce fraud are also amongst achievements gained so far. Raids were conducted on illegal connections, and employees caught performing illegal connections were dismissed.

Moreover, the New Management has taken a bold initiative towards the preparation of NPAs Financial Statements for 2006 and 2007; preparation of the 2008 Budget including Cash Flow Statement; completion of the Power and Water Project accounts for 2007, which have also been audited, procurement of 20,500 prepaid meters; and the getting of governments approval of a tariff increase and its successful implementation by NPA.

The reports further throw light on Management strategies that enhanced the achievement above. In this regard the management initiated the principle of staff participation in the decision making process, by holding frequent meetings and brainstorming when critical decisions are to be taken; customer care (i.e treating customers as NPAs number one priority); applying pro-active and innovative management styles; meeting individual staff while working and holding discussions with them in order to know their problems and find solutions to these problems; giving incentive to staff for good work done, sensitizing the public both on the electronic and print media about NPAs operations; creation of 15 Management Teams, to improve the overall effieciency of the Authority, and the introduction of transparency and accountability in all the activities of the organization.

The good performance of the Management has created a meaningful impact on communities in several ways. At least there is now improvement in the overall standard of living of the Freetown population by the provision of ice, cold drinking water, yogurt, etc.; reduction of poverty by the preservation of foodstuffs in freezers/refrigerators for days or months; improvement in security within the city as a result of the constant electricity supply, and creation of additional entertainment centres and hotels in the city which enhances the social lives of the state.

However, the hard-working Management is facing serious challenges with regard to the following:

Funds to procure fuel oil for the generatin plants, especially when the Government fuel subsidy of Le 74 billion on Global Trading Group has been exhausted.
The one year contract with Global Tradin Group ends in November 2008, through with possibl extension of the contract. NPA is repairing its generating plants at Kingtom (Sulzer 4 & 5 mitsubishi and Mirrlees) as contingency measures to replace the GTG plants.
Poor state of the Transmission & Distribution (T&D) lines. The lines were constructed in the 1960s and have not been replaced since then. NPA therefore urgently needs money to repair the first phase of the Western Area network system; this would involve buying poles, cables, wires, transformers, pole carrying vehicles and other T&D materials. For eg. the cost for the 13km, 33kv line for Bumbuna was US$7.5 million. This was funded by the World Bank.
Lack of adequate meters for new connections and replacement of damaged meters. NPA is working to procure 100,000 prepaid meters to dispense with the present credit meters in the system.
Lack of vehicles for revenue collection and monitoring activities. NPA is in the process of procuring pople-carrying vehicles and rapid response vehicles for emergency.
Restructuring of the Authority and downsizing/rightsizing of staff. The Authority is going to realign and streamline its organizational structure to improve efficiency.
Stealing of NPAs cables and wires by the public without punitive action being taken by the Government. NPA is working with the police and other stakeholders to catch criminals stealing the Authoritys equipment.
Illegal connections. Raids are being constantly conducted on illegal connections.
System losses of 40%, due to poor state of the T&D lines and illegal connections.
The Japanese has provided US$22 million for the JICA project. This project will add a primary sub-station at regent and 10 MW of electric capacity; and this will increase electricity supply in Freetown.
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) is providing US$25 Million for the installation of 17 MW generating plant at Black Hall Road. This will also increase the supply of electricity in Freetown.
Payment of the Le 23 billion debts inherited by the present management. The new commission of inquiry will investigate the questionable debts.
Additional generation capacity of 3 MW is need for the Bo-Kenema Power Station, since the customer population has outgrown the present capacity.
Plans to ectrify the entire country repairs the provincial transmission and distribution lines.
NPA has to construct min-hydro lectric project throughout Sierra Leone.

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