Twenty-five communities in the Birim North District in the Eastern Region have been connected to the national grid for the first time under the Rural Electrification Project (REP).
The $2.3-million project was part of a $97-million government contract awarded to Chinese company, the China International Water and Electricity Corporation, last year to connect power to 300 communities in the Eastern Region.
The beneficiary communities include Kote Ye Aboa, Hyoa Ye Mmobo, Twe Nim Nyansa, Bramkrom, Addokrom and Amanfokrom.
Others are Domeabra, Bepotuntum, Abohema, Dodoworaso, Asuabena, Botwekrom, Teimuni, Kuntenase, Asarekrom, Papa Doku and Atta Yaw.
The rest are Dagadu, Alhaji, Yaw Agyemang, Agya Thomas, Osei Yaw, Oseikrom, Abena Tewia and Yaw Broni.
There was ecstacy among residents of the beneficiary communities last Friday when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr John Osei Frimpong, officially switched on the light at a ceremony, throwing the people into a frenzy, with some singing the praises of the government.
The MP said connecting the communities to the national grid —ahead of the original schedule — was in fulfilment of his campaign promise and in line with the NPP’s agenda to improve the living conditions of the people.
He said the government was working towards extending power to all communities in the district.
Mr Frimpong advised the people to pay their electricity bills in order to enjoy uninterrupted power supply to boost economic activities in the area.
He advised schoolchildren to take advantage of the electricity to study their books in the evenings, so that they would become responsible future leaders, instead of spending time on unproductive activities.
The District Chief Executive for Birim North, Mr Raymond Nana Damptey, warned the residents against illegal connection of power, saying that practice could land them in trouble.
He said efforts were being made to rehabilitate some bad roads in the area, especially the New Abirim-Nkawkaw road, which he said would be given a facelift.
The Eastern Regional Marketing Manager of the Power Distribution Services (PDS), Mr Abraham Lincoln Damtse, advised the beneficiary communities against farming near electricity poles or under the power lines, saying that practice was a major threat to lives and properties.
He urged residents to use electricity responsibly to avoid unnecessary high bills.
The Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Power, Mr Owuraku Aidoo, said the NPP government was committed to the principles of good governance, and that by 2020 all communities across the country would be connected to electricity.
He called on community members to take advantage of the electricity to start their own businesses to generate income to feed themselves and their dependents.
He said the Energy Ministry, in collaboration with the PDS, would distribute about 2,000 new electricity meters to households in the beneficiary communities.
The Akyem Kotoku Mponuahene, who doubles as the Chief of Pankese, Nana Dr Boakye Darkwah, commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for fulfilling his promise to them during the 2016 electioneering and appealed to residents to use electricity wisely and pay for the usage, so that other communities could also be connected to electricity.