Outrage over BEDC extortion
…Consumers want license revoked
By Our reporters
People of Ondo State are up in arm against the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC). The grouse was on exploitation of consumers of electricity through estimated bills otherwise known as “crazy bills.”
The latest was the company’s threat to those using prepaid meters sending a message to them that, “Your meter No… average monthly vending is less than 100 units; which is very low considering average availability. Vend suitably to avoid disconnection.”
Those who spoke with The Hope, cutting across the three senatorial districts of the state, expressed deep displeasure over the poor electricity service and huge estimated bills given to them by the BEDC. They however called on the Federal Government to revoke the license of BEDC over extortion and poor performance.
In Owo, people of the ancient town said they are poised for a showdown with the BEDC. They also gave the company a month ultimatum. The consumers warned the electricity distribution company to increase power supply in the area or risk a total showdown.
Speaking with the management at the Owo Business office of the company, the Owo Unity Group and Owo Youth General Assembly decried the epileptic power supply situation in the town.
Pastor Idowu Adebayo, President, of the group demanded to know the reasons for the shortfall in power supply in the town.
Similarly, Mr. Oyegoke Olaposi, President of Owo Youth General Assembly, queried why the enumeration exercise embarked upon by BEDC had stopped and why houses already enumerated had not been metered?
A community leader in Irun Akoko, Chief Anthony Adeyanju also described electricity situation in Irun as disheartening.
He was worried that despite the huge amount BEDC claimed the community owed and already paid for, the people are not getting what they paid for.
In the same manner, Pa Balogun, a resident of Afin described the situation as too bad, saying the right of the people to enjoy basic amenities despite their willingness to pay for such is being compromised.
Similarly, electricity situation in other Akoko communities has been a source of worry to indigenes and other residents.
However, some indigenes of the area, especially, Prophet T B Joshua who is from Arigidi Akoko, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, Dr Segun Abraham and others came to the rescue of the people by paying a huge chunk of the debt while each household were made to pay between N2’000.00 and N3,000.00
Several months after the payment, electricity consumers in the area have been telling tales of woes.
Speaking with our reporter, Reverend Canon Isaac Awowole described power supply in Oyin Akoko where he is based as epileptic.
Canon Awowole said the town has been experiencing darkness for some time now, BEDC is fond of toying with electricity supply in the area.
According to him, the people have been living in perpetual darkness for the most part of this year.
“Electricity here is not a thing that give us joy. We have been living in perpetual darkness here. It is so in Okeagbe, Irun, Ogbagi and all other towns around here “.
In Ijoka, Akure, the state capital, there are complaints from the residents, who narrated their huge share from the woes.
Speaking with some residents in Ijoka, they said “power supply in Ijoka is very poor. Most times, the light is restored, around 10-11pm, when everyone have gone to bed.
The power supply is then cut off around 3am, just when we are also waking up to prepare our children for school, and cook the morning meal.
The epileptic power supply in our community is no more news these days as the community is now used to it. Yet, there are agitations that the charges are not in anyway commensurate with the power supplied.
Mr Jayeoba Adebayo, at Fanibi Street said, issue of electricity is getting worse on the daily basis unlike before. This area was once a community where people like to live because of the steady power supply but suddenly things have changed.
“Sadly, for the past one year, we have not been enjoying electricity. Of recent there was a report of stolen cable from the transformer, but was later fixed after lots of protests. Despite the replacement, we still cannot enjoy any improvement on electricity supply.
Another landlady, Mrs Opeyemi Jimoh, while reacting said,” there is no standard electricity bill or charges given to any house in this area, and we have not been given adequate power supply. The power supply is not in anyway beneficial to us, because you cannot use it to do anything. “
Opeyemi, also revealed that” the Niger Delta Development Commission, donated to the community a transformer two years ago, and up till to date, it has not been installed due to financial problem facing the community. I believe only the government can bail us out of this darkness.”
The chairman, Ola Eledumare Estate in Adebowale area, Akure, Elder Festus Fadayomi narrated that the only transformer which was serving five communities in that area packed up about eight months ago and ever since, several efforts made by all the landlords association of the affected communities to restore light have been fruitless.
“The untold hardship is killing and worrisome. We manage to build houses, many are uncompleted buildings, these additional expenses have really drained our savings. We are using this medium to call on the management of BEDC to do the needful.
Speaking with the Public Relations Officer, in charge of Ekiti and Ondo district offices, Mr Kayode Brown observed that some of the communities complaining of lack of electricity supply are owning BEDC huge debts.
He declared that there will be mass disconnection of those who are owning as soon as their stolen cables are restored.
He charged every community in Ondo State to take care of the cables which he described as a security issue which he said must be a collective responsibility.
“Everybody must make sure these equipments are not vandalised, they are the ones that will be in darkness”, he said
He also denied the allegation that BEDC is charging crazy bills and that its officials are vandalising cables.