NEDCo was formed out of the Northern Electricity Department (NED) of the Volta River Authority (VRA). NED itself was established in April 1987 when the northern electricity distribution operations of the then Electricity Corporation of Ghana were ceded to the VRA. The Authority, at the time, was in the process of extending the national grid beyond Kumasi to the northern parts of Ghana. The Volta River Development (Amendment) Law, 1987 (PNDCL 171) was passed to enable VRA to enter the distribution market at the level of the consumer.
At the time of the inception of NED, some major towns were served by diesel generators. Some of these towns with diesel generation included Sunyani, Techiman, Berekum, Wenchi, Dormaa Ahenkro, Tamale, Yendi, Salaga, Bolgatanga, Navrongo, Bawku and Wa. New diesel plants were also installed in Wa through the support of DANIDA in 1989. The electricity distribution network in Wa was also completely rehabilitated through DANIDA support in 1992.
NED was originally started as three operational Areas namely Upper Area, Northern Area and Brong-Ahafo Area. In 1995, however, the Upper Area was divided into Upper East and Upper West Areas. In 2003, the Brong-Ahafo area was also further divided into two areas, Sunyani and Techiman.
In June 1994, the Government of Ghana (GoG) initiated the Power Sector Reform (PSR) programme aimed at bringing efficiency and managerial effectiveness in the Energy Sector in order to improve service delivery to all consumers. In pursuance of the Power Sector Reforms, VRA Management registered NEDCo as a wholly-owned VRA subsidiary with a Board of Directors since 1997 to take over the operations of NED.
NEDCo’s current operations extend into the northern parts of Volta, Ashanti and Western regions. Although NEDCo’s operations cover about 64% of the geographical area of Ghana, the customer density of the operating area is low with access to electricity in the NEDCo operating area put at about 36% as at the end of 2011. The Ghana Government, in line with its vision of making electricity available to all by year 2020, has undertaken power extensions over the years to new towns and communities that were hitherto not served by NEDCo. Customer population has thus grown from less than 20,000 in 1987 to over 380,000 in 2011.
VRA Management has now taken the decision to fully operationalise NEDCo. On May 8, 2012, NEDCO was, therefore, officially inaugurated and a new Board of Directors was sworn into office on the same day.
The full operationalisation of NEDCo as a VRA subsidiary seeks to achieve the following objectives:
- Make NEDCo economically viable and sustainable by attracting additional resources from both external and internal sources to supplement VRA’s on-going support of the current NEDCo operations. In this arrangement, NEDCo will also be able to deal directly with multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, JICA, IMF, etc for financial support to prosecute its business agenda. It is important to note that the present support from VRA is inadequate because of equally competing demands from other departments.
- Empower NEDCo to manage its own affairs more effectively by providing it with the right organisational structure and corresponding authority. Thus, NEDCo management will have the authority to take timely and appropriate decisions on customer issues and challenges to improve service delivery without recourse or reference to VRA.
- Empower NEDCo to streamline key procedures and decision-making processes in respect of procurement of its strategic equipment and spares, construction of needed office buildings and staff training and development, all of which are critical to efficient service delivery to our cherished customers.
- Empower NEDCo to deal directly with Government and regulators such as the PURC, EC on key issues pertaining to its viability and sustainability. For instance, NEDCo will be illegible to file a tariff proposal to PURC separate from what is filed by VRA.