27 May 2015, Lagos –
Residents of Ogbebuhia, Trade Fair and Erediauwa areas in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State have protested over the lingering power outage in their communities.
The aggrieved residents, who marched to the headquarters of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, barricaded the road leading to the company along the busy Akpakpava Road in Benin, the state capital.
They decried the huge electricity bills they were compelled to pay for services they did not enjoy as most of the affected streets had not experienced electricity supply for months.
One of the residents, Prince Uwaifo, noted that the recent scarcity of petrol had worsened their condition, even as many of the residents found it difficult to provide alternative power supply for themselves through the use of generators.
Uwaifo, therefore, called on the firm to upgrade its services or desist from sending exorbitant bills from the affected areas.
He said, “We are here on a peaceful demonstration; we are not here to fight. For the past months we do not have power supply.
“The problem we have is that they don’t give us light, but they bring bills for us every month and they come to disconnect us, insisting that we must pay N750.
“Is the money for people who don’t give us service or those who do? We are here to tell BEDC that they should give us light; we need light and nothing else.”
But the management of the distribution company told Southern City News on Tuesday that the outage was as result of a nationwide shutdown caused by an acute shortage of gas supply to the generating plants.
Spokesperson for the company, Curtis Nwadei, explained that the situation, which had also affected other states within its jurisdiction, had left BEDC with nothing to distribute, adding that the company was depending on what was generated and transmitted by the plants.
While appealing to the residents to remain calm, he assured that power supply would improve as soon as the issues were resolved and added that field officers of the company would also carry out routine maintenance on BEDC facilities in the areas.
Uwadie said, “BEDC wishes to inform her esteemed and valued customers in Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states that the present power outage being experienced is as a result of the acute shortage of gas supply to the power generation plants, which has led to a nationwide shutdown.
“As the last leg in the value-chain of the power business, BEDC completely depends on what is generated and transmitted to us before we can distribute. In the circumstance we find ourselves, since the generation power plants are shutdown, nothing is generated nor transmitted to BEDC; therefore, BEDC has nothing to distribute.
“We, therefore, appeal to our customers in Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states and hope to restore power supply as soon as power generation issues are resolved. BEDC regrets all inconveniences caused by the outage.”