Consumers lament as blackout enters seven weeks
By Eseoghene Emuke
Electricity consumers in Delta State have appealed to the Federal Government to intervene and call the Benin Electricity Distribution Company to order over the epileptic power supply in most parts of the state.
The aggrieved consumers lamented that many of them have not seen power in their homes for over seven weeks, a situation, they described as impunity taken too far by the management of BEDC.
A cross section of respondents who spoke with WARRI TODAY on the power situation on Monday condemned the action of the distribution company saying that their failure to explain to consumers, the problem, is a slight on them.
It was gathered that the power situation has been epileptic since the beginning of this year but the situation snowballed into total blackout in most areas since March as some of the areas with relatively stable power supply are now left with no light.
Findings revealed that most parts of Warri, Effurun and other parts of the state including Asaba, the Delta State capital, have remained in total blackout for weeks.
BEDC’s failure to explain the situation to electricity consumers, has, however, worsened the concerns of consumers who had no clue to what the problem was.
In Warri for instance, it was learnt that power has not been supplied to most areas such as Okumagba Avenue, Ometan Street, Marine Gate area housing the Warri Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ajamimogha and the Ginuwa Junction where most media offices are located in the last four weeks.
Areas that were usually supplied six hours daily now received between two to three hours supply while they are left in blackout for days in some occasion.
It is a case of total blackout in Effurun – Ugbromo, Jakpa, Ebrumede and other part of the city – and Udu in Uvwie and Udu Local Government Areas of the state.
Lamenting the situation, the residents said they have not received power supply for over two months saying that most small businesses have been shut down or left dormant.
“We don’t know what we did to BEDC that they had refused to supply power for over seven weeks. You can see that most businesses are not open in Effurun because there is no light to power their business. I don’t know why the FG is leaving this company to suffer us.
“It’s quite evident that BEDC has no capacity to do the business they were given. Go to Udu, Effurun, Ugbromo, Osubi and most parts of Warri, everywhere is in darkness. The light has not improved this year but since March, it became worst. We are begging the FG to intervene for us”, Mr Efe Solomon, a resident of PTI road lamented.
A resident of Osubi area near Effurun in Okpe Local Government Area, Mr Dennis Otu told our correspondent, “We have been in darkness for over two months now in some parts of Osubi community in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State and up till now, those in BEDC have not been able to explain to us why we have to be treated this way.
“Electricity consumers are passing through untold hardship under the management of BEDC. They are not supplying us with electricity and they have not failed in sending bills for power they never supplied.”
Our correspondent’s investigation into the power outage revealed that most of the fielders including those at PTI road, Enerhen and Udu areas which are the stepdown for power distribution had broken down.
Some senior officials of BEDC who, however, declined to be quoted told our correspondent that most fielders and breakers had problems and they were under repairs.
One of the officials explained that despite efforts by BEDC management to restore power to the affected areas after fixing the problem, the feeders and breakers would still break down once power was restore to their consumers.
The officials, who lamented the problem, said they suspect foul play, saying that the company had been working round the clock to ensure that all parts of the state enjoy power supply.
One of them said, “Our breakers in Enerhen serving some parts of Warri including Warri NUJ are having problem. The breakers are always exploding from the transmission point at PTI.
“The feeders and the breakers are the once giving us problem but we are doing everything we can to restore light to our consumers.
“What we are now doing is to break the fielder into two. We are trying to transfer part of the fielder at PTI to Agbarho line.
“Our engineers have been working all day and they are almost done. But I can tell you that most parts of Warri are not in darkness. Our major issue is Effurun but once we are done, there will be steady power.”
However, efforts to reach BEDC’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Adekunle Tayo were not successful as repeated calls and text messages to his telephone lines were not connecting and delivering at the time of filing this report.
But Tayo in a response in May to a similar enquiry by our correspondent, disclosed that the breaker supplying electricity some of the affected areas was faulty and was undergoing repair works.
Tayo’s position confirmed the claims by the officials who sort not to be mentioned in this report.
According to him, “Information has it that power supply to the Warri/Effurun axis has indeed been epileptic. The feeder serving Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ) Delta state branch secretariat has been affected by a technical fault traceable to a breaker.
“As the fault was being addressed it was tripping (meaning resisting the repair thereby making fault to reoccur) due to overloading of the breaker serving the transformers. One of the transformers was discovered to be bad hence the only functional one is now overloaded.
“Not only Effurun/Warri areas are affected but also Petroleum Training Institute (PTI ) area too. We are working hard to restore supply by repairing the fault as soon as possible.”
Bedc is minimizing expenses on running cost by shorting down power and increasing estimated bills paid by consumers and getting federal government to subsidies ,wickedness.
BEDC employed the services of Lebanese nationals backed by nigerian police officers to go about distributing estimated Bills and disconnecting consumers in warri and effurun that has been in darkness for over six months. What a shame of a nation? Does it mean nigerians are not competent to handle power consumption bills? Or is it a way to use the Lebanese to launder stolen money from collected Bills abroad? I need answers please.