01 March 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The incessant protest and barricading of transmission stations by communities in Rivers State over power outage is becoming a social menace, the management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC has said.
Recall that recently three transmission stations which serve as a source from the national grid to the company was forcefully shut down within the last two months by youths protesting over power outage in their communities.
The shutting down of these power transmission stations by youths in Afam, Ahoada and Ogbum-Nu-Abali communities all in Rivers State, according to the company, led to the serious blackout experienced at the time in parts of Rivers and Bayelsa state.
Speaking on the development, Manager, Corporate Communications of PHEDC, Mr. John Onyi, told our correspondent that business was becoming challenging due to the rampant protest and barricading of its offices and stations, maintaining that protest was never a solution.
Onyi said the responsibility of PHEDC for the umpteenth time was to distribute power to her customers as received from the grid and to ensure that the corresponding payment was made in order to sustain the system.
He explained that instead of carrying out a protest, there were channels through which the company can be contacted by the customers. He appealed to community leaders to prevail on their wards/children not to take laws into their hands whenever faults occur on their feeders.
According to him, “It is becoming one protest too many. Anytime a feeder is out, communities besiege our office, which is becoming a social menace.
“If there is a challenge that supply does not get to customers, there are channels through which we can be contacted, such as our customer call center, through which they can make their concerns known to us. And based on our records, we will trace the feeder to fix the fault.
“Communities should not take laws into their hands by besieging our offices at any slightest lost of supply, it is giving us a great concern and sending a wrong signal.
“Our appeal is that they should desist from such if there is a problem they don’t need to go and shut down our station such that it will affect the generality of the whole town.”
On the quit notice issued recently by Ogbum-Nu-Abali Community in Port Harcourt, for the company to remove its transmission station from the community, the Disco explained that the property belongs to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, and was a source through which they get supply from the grid.
Onyi who said Ogbum-Nu-Abali Community was owing to the company a total debt of N1.2billion as at January 2018, regretted that the community was more concerned with getting power supply than payment of bills, adding that it was a symbiotic relationship that as the company supplies power, customers must pay the corresponding bill.
“The property is a transmission station and it belongs to TCN. It is only a source through which PHEDC gets their supply to serve her customers in parts of Port Harcourt.
“We don’t know the genesis of how the property was acquired. TCN belongs to the Federal Government, the community should go and meet with the Federal Government.
“During our meeting with the community, we did not discuss about the property because they(community) know the property belongs to FG, what we discussed with them was on how to improve their supply and we also told them our challenges, that what we are getting from the grid cannot be given to everybody at the same time, so we are doing what we called load-shedding.”