Somaliland: The Always Beleaguered Hargeisa Electricity Agency Claims Ghost Consumers

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Ahmed Yassin HEA manager

By: Yusuf M Hasan

Somalilandsun – The Hargeisa Electricity Agency is losing thousands in dollars monthly through supply of power to ghost clients who are fully served but not registered as consumers.

Accordingly the beleaguered state owned power supplier is undertaking a head count of all its clients with a view to the identification and subsequent elimination of the hundreds of ghost consumers.

This has been revealed by the manager of the Hargeisa Electricity Agency-HEA Mr. Ahmed-Yasin M Jama who says that the prevalence of the ghost consumers is as a result of collusion with unscrupulous employees who upon disconnection the supply of registered consumers who are behind in payment of bills then transfer the power supply to unregistered consumers thence the lose in thousand dollars monthly.

Despite Mr. Jama making history by becoming the first non appointed head of a state owned agency having been recruited after responding to a public advertisement for the post after his appointed predecessor Mr. Weli Ahmed Hawa was fired for maladministration the situation at the HEA remains the same, dire and need of urgent remedies.

And despite recruiting a CEO on basis of skills and experience the determination of the administration as per power supply especially in the city have not been reciprocated in a country where electricity charges @$1 a kilowatt are among the worlds expensive.

Although a highly skilled operative with post graduate degree to his belt and 19 years of experience with an international company Mr. Ahmed-Yasin M Jama who took over in June this year continues to be faced with monumental challenges in pursuit of streamlining the power agency thence provide regular power to consumers at a profit reasons that saw the exit of his predecessor.

At an interview with Dawan newspaper Mr. Jama who inherited a collapsing agency said, “We are in the process of registering all power consumers of the Hargeisa Electricity Agency which is the biggest provider in the city but the least unproductive”

The registration or re-registration shall cover 29 sectors within city estates and districts where the HEA supplies power to thousands of consumers a large number of whom are not registered.

This week a number of media outlets had reported that corrupt practices are ongoing at the city power provider thus prompting the Dawan interview with the CEO

The HEA corruption saga that is still under scrutiny from the office of the Auditor general ensued later last year when the then minister of public works Ahmed Habsade refused to subsidize the agency’s recurrent budget claiming that his ministry with oversight of all state power suppliers had not been apportioned such in the annual budget.

Ex minister Habsade claiming that HEA was a profit minting agency thus expected to at the least sustain its operations called in the Auditor general’s office to conduct investigations.

Following a blame shouting match between ex minister Habsade and ex manager Hawa then both in office the head of state president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo set up a committee with the mandate of providing streamlining recommendations.

The Government has provided the HEA with huge power generatorsThe committee composed of the Minister of planning Dr. Saad Shire, minister of public works Hon Habsade, Auditor general Mr. Mahmud Aw Abdi and Accountant General Mr. Mohamed Abdi Bedde brought a guilty verdict against the Hargeisa Electricity Agency management for bringing services down.

After the guilty verdict the then public works minister said “the State agency has failed to sustain itself while services especially fee collection is ongoing but misappropriated thus requiring his ministry to prop up the agency though the state coffers have not provided the budget for such”

Committee member planning minister Dr Sa’ad Ali shire who said that the city power agency has the potential to not only sustain itself but earn profits urged consumers to ensure that the pay their bills on time thus continued services from the agency which at $0.4 a kilowatt is the cheapest provider in the country.

On their part the auditor general and his Accountant general counter who concurred with the two ministers promised to maintain close scrutiny at the agency thus ensure that operations are not brought down again by managerial failures.

Hargeisa the purported home to ghost power consumersThe work of the committee which is yet to be officially disbanded seems to be once again required since after recommending the revolutionary remedy of recruiting and not appointing a manager the HEA is still engulfed in the same problems.

So what next for the never ending stories of corrupt practices permeating the rank and file of the beleaguered HEA, the now almost regular power blackouts for its consumers coupled with uncertainty of the continued supply of the irregular power supply occasioned by the to be put in place clients head count.

The Hargeisa Electricity agency maladies which were also the result of a presidential decree # SL/M/XERM/249-1336/092012, that forced President Silanyo to place the Hargeisa and Berbera national electricity agencies under the ministry of public works as from the 26th Sept 2012 thus effectively removing the hitherto carte blanche managerial authority of the two agencies managers is surely in need a magician with a strong anti corruption and mismanagement wand.

Meanwhile did the manager upon his recruitment avail the public works minister and the presidential committee his work plan or not, if so are the proposed what’s, when’s, whys, and how’s and if not why not?

Meanwhile stop alluding to ghost power consumers while the alleged ghosts are well known households that pay their monthly bills on time.

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