Friday, January 21

Edo communities lament continued blackout

By: Emmanuel Ikhenebome

It seems all hope of electricity restoration to some communities in Orhionmwon and Uhunmwode local government areas of Edo state by the end of 2021 may have been dashed as Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) insisted on ‘community billing system’.

The Daily Vendor Newspaper learnt that, the system, coupled with clearing of unpaid electricity bills amounting to millions of Naira ‘owed’ BEDC were conditions the company handed the affected communities before it can restore power and commence services in the area.

The communities which include Abudu, Evbuobanosa, Iguomoson, Uvbe, Igbogiri, Iru, Ofien, Idudolor, Evbuohen, Isua, Evbosawe, Ugboayon, Oza, Ugbeze, Oghada, Igbanke, among others have been without electricity for more than five years.

A situation that further crippled socio-economic activities in the area, where owners of businesses and other ventures that depend on electricity have either relocated or close shop, while those who operate on electricity generating sets charges extra amount for their goods and services to make up for the generator expenses. 

According to the people, they usually travel out of their various communities for most of their transactions and social engagements that would as well be carried out in the area if there was electricity.

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“No banks, no major businesses, just POS stands everywhere; and without electricity nobody will be serious to come here and invest. The people are tired of complaining about the light matter. 

“Even Abudu, administrative headquarters of Orhionmwon is in darkness, that tells you it will take some time to get electricity again, unless something extraordinary happens”, a primary school teacher at Iru community told our correspondent

However, after series of promises, in August, Edo State Oil and Gas Producing Areas Development Commission (EDSOGPADEC) installed 2.5MV/3311VA transformers at Oghada community to boost power supply to the affected areas.

Barely two months after installation, vandals took advantage of poor security arrangement in the area to steal armoured cables from the yet-to-be powered transformer.

Consequently, a representative of Orhionmwon local government at the commission, Charles Aideyan assured that contractor handling the project has been mandated to replace the stolen equipment.

Aideyan noted, it is not the responsibility of government to rehabilitate broken electricity poles, replace stolen cables and faulty transformers, but that of the Benin Disco as contained in the 2013 power privatisation agreement.

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He stressed that government saw the need to provide the transformer for the people, adding Orhionmwon and Uhunmwode local government management should collaborate with EDSOGPADEC to fastrack the restoration of power to the affected communities.

“Our (EDSOGPADEC) engineers have gone to see that he (contractor) has done his job, but he has not deliver; because until they power it we will not know the working condition of the transformer.

“The contractor has gone to assess whatever was stolen there, and has agreed to refix them; that will be when BEDC are ready to power it”, Aideyan maintained during a chat with this newspaper on Thursday in his office.

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