The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) have been summoned by the House of Representatives over a seven-year power outage in Mosogar, Edjemuoyavwe, and other affected areas in Delta State’s Ethiope West Local Government Area.
The House also encouraged the NERC to fulfill its mandate of overseeing and ensuring that distribution corporations across the country do not continue to flourish on deception and consumer exploitation.
The House resolutions followed the adoption of Hon. Ben Rollands Igbakpa’s motion of urgent national concern, which was moved in plenary yesterday.
Major parts of Ethiope West, particularly Mosogar and Edjemudarho villages, have been in total darkness for almost seven years, according to Igbakpa, as a result of the BEDC’s absolute inability to execute their duty in the distribution of power/electricity to the afflicted areas.
He claimed that the BEDC collected bills from customers promptly, but that whenever technical issues or faults requiring their attention to repair assets under their management and control, such as transformers, cables, poles, and so on, the company abandons and or abdicates such responsibilities by forcing customers to fix such faults or provide money to purchase them.
Since 2015, Igbakpa has been trying to get a transformer (step-down) from the BEDC but has been unsuccessful.
He went on to say that in 2016, the BEDC, in one of its memos to the community, demanded that the communities pay all of their outstanding debts, which totaled over N12 million, as a condition of bringing a step-down transformer that could service the increased demands of electricity in the community due to expansion.
“Despite the early payment thereof, the BEDC brought a substandard transformer with little capacity to the village, and the transformer went out barely two days after its installation,” Igbakpa said.
“Similarly, in 2018, the state government introduced a new step down, which the BEDC hesitantly and badly erected and promptly ruined.”
The village petitioned the Delta State Government again in 2020, and two units of 2.5 KVA transformers were granted for Mosogar and separated into two sub-stations, according to the lawmaker.
The BEDC refused to power the step downs after the project was completed, instead demanding a reconnection cost of N10 million, which was paid by the community, but shortly after the BEDC replaced the transformers, they crashed again, according to Igbakpa.
The lawmaker expressed concern that the leaders of the affected communities have made several attempts to work with the BEDC, including paying millions of Naira to provide a solution, but that there has been no success because the BEDC has either failed, refused, or neglected to perform its responsibilities in a creditable manner, instead ripping the communities/consumers of millions of Naira through their illicit demands.
“Invite the management of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) for proper interaction with a view to ascertaining the root cause(s) of the perennial lack of or total failure of electricity supply and or distribution to Mosogar, Edjemuoyavwe and other affected areas in Ethiope West LGA of Delta State with a view to finding a lasting solution,” the House resolved.
Meanwhile, the House has requested that the BEDC restore power to the Enuani clan in Delta State.
The House passed the resolution after the Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, moved a motion in plenary yesterday.
The legislator who introduced the motion stated that Enuani is a Delta State clan made up of the Olodu, Olloh, Ewulu, Isheagu, Isikiti, Ukwu–Oba, Umute, Aba–Unor, and Adonte communities.
The electrical supply in Enuani clan and other adjacent towns was cut off as a result of the dilapidation of a 33KVA line, putting the entire community in constant darkness for nearly two decades, according to Elumelu.
The congressman emphasized that the lack of electricity in the afflicted regions for nearly two decades has caused immeasurable suffering for residents, stifling development.
People’s appeals to BEDC and the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) to restore electricity to the area by incorporating the 2.5MVA line with a substation at Ewulu fell on deaf ears, according to him.
The legislator raised worry that the BEDC had pushed community stakeholders to rehabilitate the 11KVA line attached to the area in order to expedite the repair of the 33KVA line, which the community stakeholders did and paid N4 million to do, only for the BEDC to back out of their agreement.
Elumelu observed that the continual interruption of electrical supply to communities has not only caused indigenes tremendous hardships, but has also set back and given neighboring towns a developmental advantage, necessitating immediate intervention. As a result, the House charged the Committee on Power to consult with BEDC and Rural Electrification Agency management on alternative measures to restore power to the impacted areas.