Blackout: Angry residents of Edo / Delta petition BEDC Management

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…Seek NASS intervention, compensation

* Cost of solar system shutdown

By Owen Eresoyen, Benin

The Electricity Supply Crisis in the Edo/ Delta States may have worsened, as residents of these states have continued to count loses in their business activities following total failure in power supply.

To this end, consumers in both states on Thursday with no fewer than 50,000 of them have petitioned the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, over the worsened situation in power supply almost in the last six months.

Besides, the angry Consumers have also reported the BEDC ‘S management to the National Assembly over the failed system of power supply especially with no solution in sight and accumulated bills.

The aggrieved Consumers made up of numerous business owners in Benin City Edo and Asaba in Delta State especially in Umunede Community lamented the inability of the electricity Company to supply them light adding that they are being punished for no fault of theirs.

One of the Consumers on Akpakpava road in Benin City, Mr. Ekene Okpara who spoke to Journalists said “We are terribly pained that BEDC has failed Completely. We are suffering serious heat rashes and burning gas and fuel in our generating sets. We can’t sleep well at all again especially during nightfall when there is darkness. BEDC has disappointed Nigerians”

A petition signed by Mr. Henry Okpara and Jude Nnamdi on behalf of the aggrieved Consumers in the States, and addressed to the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, National Assembly, Hon Eseosa Iyawe , a Labour Party lawmaker representing Oredo Federal Constituency, was titled” Public Petition against the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, for failing to resolve the prolonged power outage in both Edo and Delta States, attributing the prolonged blackout to the vandalism of the step down infrastructure that powers so many transformers, perpetrated by unknown individuals’ vandals over the years.

The petitioners alleged that, due to the nonchalant attitude of the BEDC in the entire states to come to the side of the Consumers, explaining that several Communities, towns in the states have hitherto remained in the dark as a result of the blackout.

The Petitioners alleged that upon the terrible situation that the Consumers are currently being faced with, BEDC has continued to shut up bills for no reasons adduced and however expressed concern over the deaf eared response of BEDC to the Consumers’ pains.

Part of the Petitioners’ petition reads, “The Continued blackout in Edo- Delta States has deepened the hardship of the Consumers and the people. We are appealing to the National Assembly over our situation in the two states to Compel BEDC to promptly provide succour to our problems before it gets out of hand. We urge the Committee to understand the urgency of the situation and dispatch a delegation to witness the conditions first hand and compel relevant government agencies to expedite action on the resolution of the power outage,” it added.

Investigation revealed that the cost of solar system operators has increased unlike when there was improved power supply but Mr. Frank Chimezie, Public Relations Officer of one of the solar providers in Asaba, who spoke to Journalists said” The cost of living is bigger and we need some increase to survive in our Company. We used to install a N200,000 worth solar system, at present we install for N500,000 because of the cost of living.”