22 February 2017, Port Harcourt – The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) has raised the alarm over the N91.2 billion debt owed by the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and customers, which comprises N58.9 billion debt owed by the customers in the four states in its franchise area and a legacy debt of N32.3 billion.
Speaking recently when the top officials of the company visited the General Officer Commanding 6th Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Major General Enobong Okon Udoh, the Chief Executive Officer of PHED, Mr. Jay McCoskey said the debt owed PHED by customers was a big draw – back for the implementation and success of the projects.
“As at November 2016, PHED is being owed N58.9 billion by customers in the four states, aside from a legacy debt of N32.3B making a total debt stock of N91.2 billion. Out of the above sum, Army, Navy and Air Force owe N2,120,837,452.49, N525,709,976.76 and N180,127,282.44 respectively, making a total debt of N2,833,001,288.84. If this money is paid to PHED, it will enable the company carry-out network expansion, maintenance and other statutory obligations. We hereby solicit your support and assistance in the payment of the outstanding debt particularly that of the Army,” McCoskey said.
He sought the permission and approval of the Army General to install bulk pre-paid meters in the mammy markets at Ikom, Bori Camp and Abak barracks, which are all within his jurisdiction.
McCoskey commended the army for the role it is playing in securing the lives and property of Nigerians, particularly its immense contribution in curbing insurgency in the North East and the relative calm that its presence has brought in the Niger Delta Region.
McCoskey told the GOC that PHED had embarked on many projects to improve power supply.
“This has resulted in the creation of 34 commercial lines and the extension of 24/7 power supply to cluster areas of Port Harcourt. Plans are ongoing to conclude and commission similar projects in other cities within the licensed area,” he added.
Earlier in his speech, the GOC assured the company of partnership, co-operation and security, to ensure the smooth running of its operations in its area of coverage.
He thanked the management of PHED for finding time to visit the Division and applauded the company for maintaining good relationship with the Army especially in providing power supply despite the huge debt owed the company.
He commended the partnership that has always existed between both parties, noting that electricity is as essential as the presence of the military, which allows for peaceful execution of duties without much ado.
He, however, reminded PHED that it is the primary responsibility of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to secure critical national infrastructure and public utilities.
“The security issue is very paramount, though, protecting critical national infrastructure and public utilities remains under the purview of the NSCDC. We work together with NSCDC and can assure you that we will render the necessary aid if we are called upon, even if it means deploying officers to help reduce security issues to the barest minimum,” he said.
On huge debt owed PHED, Udoh said that it would be communicated to Army Headquarters for its settlement, adding however, that some of the bills were estimated.
- This Day