Residents of Agbor, the headquarters of Ika South Local Council of Delta State yesterday trooped out in their thousands to protest against the poor electricity supply from the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
During the peaceful protest, which grounded economic activities in the town, the protesters who were led by members of Ika Landlords’ and Landladies’ Association marched through main streets before storming the Ika district office, which was heavily guarded by security personnel.
Traders closed shops as they joined the solidarity protest while motorcyclists carried green leaves to identify with the protesters.
Members of the landlords’ association carried placards of various inscriptions, including “No light, no bill,” “Install our transformers,” “We need pre-paid meters,” “No more estimated bill,”
“No more payment for vandalized equipment,” “Stop cutting our wires,” among others.
Chairman of the association, Mr. Vincent Arimokwu, told journalists that despite the presence of an electricity step-down in the town, power supply has remained pathetic, adding that BEDC was over billing customers with estimated bills.
He alleged that BEDC refused to supply pre-paid meters, which customers paid for but still distributed estimate bills, noting that officials of the company were in the habit of disconnecting wires, which they cart away and only supply same upon payment of reconnection fees.
“Where transformers are vandalised, customers are made to pay as much as N300,000 for the purchase and the installation of the cables.”
At the gate of the BEDC district office, security operatives prevented the protesters from gaining access but the leadership of the association later held a closed door meeting with the Business Manager, who was said to have assured them that their grievances will be channeled to the appropriate quarters.
Also, stakeholders in Sapele lamented the massive power outages in the area.
The Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Monday Igbuya described the electricity situation in Sapele as unbearable and oppressive.
Igbuya lamented the drop in electricity supply in the country and its effects on people and organizations.
He spoke during a special stakeholders meeting to proffer solutions to the worsening electricity situation in Sapele protested the failure of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to provide uninterrupted power supply in Sapele.
He also criticised the tales out of BEDC, the deluge of excuses of non- performance and the shifting of responsibilities to the consumers and other partners.
He said the high monthly bills did not reflect the epileptic power supply.
Igbuya while calling for an end to the epileptic power supply in Sapele decried the ever- spiralling cost of diesel needed to power alternative source of electricity.
“What can the good people of Sapele do with epileptic power supply? The situation has killed small and medium scale ventures. It has also increased unemployment and social tension” he said.
He urged BEDC to stop illegal collections by providing prepaid meters.
“Sapele people will pay their electricity bills” he said.
Residents of Sapele in December protested the poor electricity supply to the area by BEDC. They not only condemned the three hour electricity supply a day but lamented that many companies had shut down because of poor power supply.