Port Harcourt — The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, has explained why it disconnected the Cross River State Water Board Ltd. from power supply, explaining that the agency has an outstanding electricity debt of over N177million.
This is as the Cross River State Water Board Ltd had lamented that it was spending over N150million on diesel in a monthly basis, as a result of epileptic power supply to the agency.
PHED Manager, Corporate Communication, John Onyi, explained that the agency which is a maximum demand customer, was disconnected in August 2020 as a result of non adherence to payment plan to meet the outstanding debt.
Onyi also accused the Cross State owned agency of involving in energy theft and refusing to pay a penalty fee for the loss of revenue, despite being presented with a payment plan.
“The Cross River State Water Board Ltd, Calabar, feeds from our Water Board feeder, named after the Corporation and the area before now receives a minimum of 20 hours of supply per day. With the introduction of the recently reviewed tariff, they are in the Band A category.
“Since inception of PHED, the Board has been a maximum demand customer and as such on premium service. However, It has an outstanding debt of N177,730,978.52 as at date.
“On 24th January 2020, the agency was disconnected for non-adherence to payment plan as agreed in series of meetings held with its management.
“The action attracted media outrage orchestrated by the agency aimed at incurring public sympathy, hence a meeting was held arising from its outcry and a temporary reconnection was effected thereafter.
“During a routine check on 13th May 2020, the Water Board main station in Calabar was caught on meter by pass; a diversion of load from the meter which is inimical to the survival of electricity in Nigeria. Subsequently, a penalty fee for the loss of revenue was presented to the agency with a payment plan.
“For the umpteenth time, the Water Board reneged on the payment plan despite repeated calls and visitations leading to its disconnection on 21st August 2020.”
PHED wondered why the agency would refused to pay her outstanding N177million electricity debt in order to enjoy longer hours of power availability, yet spends N150million on diesel.
“In reference to network connection of transformers, PHED as a responsive and responsible organisation has due process of connecting new transformers to its network in line with extant laws by the regulatory bodies.
“PHED therefore, cannot sacrifice due process in a manner that will lower its standards of delivering safe and reliable electricity in the region where it operates.
“PHED will continue to engage its stakeholders for mutual benefits and it is worthy to mention that for PHED and indeed other players in electricity industry to survive, payment of bill must remain non-negotiable.
“We remain hopeful however, that the board will revisit the issue and direct some of its expenditure on diesel to settle at least part of the outstanding bill while we commence fresh talk at final negotiated repayment plan.”