House of Assembly orders utility firm to restore power in Edo community

THE Edo State House of Assembly has directed the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to restore light forthwith to Igarra Community in Akoko-Edo Local Council of the state.

The Speaker, Victor Edoror gave the order yesterday in Benin after the company’s Executive Director, Abu Ejoor had briefed the House on the development which had thrown the entire community and its environs into darkness for over a month.

The Guardian learnt that, central to the crisis, was the decision by the utility firm to remove a 2.5 MVA transformer donated to the community by the council which was vehemently resisted, leading to the impasse at hand.

Ejoor, who was in the Assembly to clarify the matter and state the position of the distribution company regarding the alleged harassment of the lawmaker representing the area in the House, Emmanuel Agbaje, said power had been compromised arising from energy theft by customers, which he noted, was hindering effective electricity metering.

He said though the firm had metered over 100,000 customers since it took over the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), “but because of the undermining gap, you cannot feel the impact.

“Energy theft is a major issue. People should be disciplined enough to allow that energy work.

“If people are compromising electricity supply, others are paying for it.

“Before we came onboard, over 7,000 customers paid for meters and the monies paid for this metres were no where to be found.

“Yet we initiated a process to meter such customers. Even though we advertised the initiative in the newspapers, only 2,600 customers had come forward to collect their metres,”Ejoor disclosed.

On the blackout, he accused the youths of preventing his officials from retrieving a 2.5MV transformer so it could be replaced with a 7.5MV facility.

Ejoor maintained amid the youths’ resistance that the facility retrieval was inevitable, as the community had outgrown the current capacity.

He further attributed the darkness to the N300 million indebtedness of the residents, adding that the youths had also gone on rampage and “vandalised our insulators.”

The Speaker, besides ordering the immediate restoration of electricity to the community, said it must be “without the collection of N750 fixed charge for the period of power outage.”

He also amongst others asked BEDC to liaise with the representative of Akoko-Edo State Constituency to remove the 2.5MV and install the 7.5MV facility.

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