Residents of Usen community in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State will soon begin to enjoy improved power supply as Benin Electricity Distribution Plc (BEDC) concludes plans to bring an additional 7.5MVA to the existing 7.5MVA transformer installed recently, the Chief State Head, Edo State, BEDC, Fidelis Obishai has said.
He gave the assurance during an information Sharing/Customer Forum of BEDC held across select communities in Ologbo, Ulemo and Usen areas of Edo State, during, which he also apologised to the residents of Usen community for the present poor supply to the area.
Obishai in a statement explained that the poor supply to the community existed before BEDC came on board; stressing that replacement cost of the transformer was huge, adding that it was due to the inadequate capacity of the 7.5MVA transformer that resulted in massive load-shedding presently being experienced in the community.
Obishai equally urged members of the Ologbo community under Ikpoba/Okha Local Government to form an Electricity Committee that would help fast-track issues bordering on power supply to their area, saying that the community was not relegated by BEDC because of its strategic position as an oil producing community.
Edo State, he said, has over 1,000 communities under the purview of BEDC, and that the company gets less than the required amount of electricity from the national grid to guarantee regular power supply to those communities and that the power supply to BEDC comes from Transmission Company in Benin and through Oghara in Delta State. He insisted that “Ologbo as an oil producing community is not relegated in the scheme of things.”
Obishai, who urged residents of Ulemo community in Oredo Local Government to pay their electricity bills promptly to enable BEDC embark on repair of faulty equipment in their area and also attend to other issues with prompt dispatch, described Ulemo community as peaceful and most organised out of the locations chosen for the customer engagement sessions.
In his address at the sessions, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Sunday Oduntan told customers that massive metering of customers, though desirable, was constrained by a number of factors prominent of which he listed to be energy theft through bypass, illegal connections and load diversion.
He urged customers to report those bypassing their meters by way of whistle blowing, saying that the prevalence of bypass especially in Edo State was militating against metering.
“BEDC, out of the 11 discos, has the highest metering rollout in the last three years. People must know that electricity is no longer a free commodity or service like roads which government is expected to provide. Electricity is also not cheap as BEDC, like other Discos, buys electricity from the generation end at N68 and sells at N31.50kobo thereby underselling its product,” he remarked.
Most of the communities complained of poor supply, estimated billing, metering, faulty meters and fallen poles to which the BEDC management team, comprising the Chief State Head, Edo, Chief Agency and Channels Officer, Felicia Nlemoha; Head of Community Relations, Virginia Osineme, and Head of Customer Complaints Unit (CCU), Simisola Fatoki, provided responses to by advising customers to make use of BEDC payment channels and ensure prompt payment of their electricity bills.