Resettled residents of Bui ask for free electricity

Residents of resettled communities within the enclave of the 400megawatt Bui Hydroelectric project have appealed to authorities for bill-free electricity supply as part of their compensation package.

They say construction of the dam has adversely affected their source of livelihood – farming and fishing, thus rendering them too financially incapacitated to pay electricity bills.

Government is yet to provide them with alternative sources of livelihood, and is yet to pay them due compensation for taking their lands.

A total of 185 household units were constructed under the Bui Power Authority (BPA) Resettlement and Community Support Programme for 1,216 people. The resettled residents currently live on subsistence farming and restricted fishing on the Bui Lake.

They made the plea at a ceremony organised by BPA at Bui Village to handover land and housing documentation to the various heads of resettled households. They consequently prayed government to subsidise their electricity consumption as compensation for the ‘artificial economic hardship’.

In response, Mr. Fred Oware – CEO of BPA, said the authority is only a power producer along the electricity value chain, and it is not in BPA’s domain to dash free electricity to Bui residents.

He however pointed out that BPA is working around the clock to provide the people with livelihood empowerment programmes, to equip them with alternative but sustainable income avenues to change their fortunes.

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All the alternative livelihood empowerment initiatives, he explained, will be executed based on studies conducted as well as an Environment and Social Management Plan (ESMP) approved by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The Board of BPA, he said, has already approved a budget for the introduction of economic activities such as mechanised farming and proper fishing business in the enclave.

On financial compensation, Mr. Oware said since the Bui plant is now working and generating revenue, authorities should, on that basis, make some payment to the affected people.

Bureaucratic processes will however have to be exhausted, he said, urging the people to exercise restraint.

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