…sues company for criminal negligence
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday accused the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) of frustrating a power deal with Ossiomo Power and Infrastructure Company Limited, to supply electricity to government offices in the state capital.
Obaseki who disclosed this at the 4th National Council on Power event, holding in the state, decried the poor supply of electricity to the state, the company’s resolve not to supply pre-paid meters to electricity consumers and its culture of over-billing its clients.
According to the governor, BEDC in the last 12 months has been writing petitions against the deal sealed between Edo State Government and Ossiomo Power and Infrastructure Company Limited, for the purchase of five megawatts of electricity to light up government offices in Benin City, and stressed that the petitions have hindered the success of the purchase agreement.
He explained that no community in the state enjoys more than eight hours of electricity supply daily despite her status as the power hub of the country.
“195 communities have never seen electricity as BEDC is not ready to extend electricity to these communities. 128 communities have issues of collapse of infrastructure which BEDC is not prepared to fix. 219 transformers purchased by the state government and the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) as replacements for faulty transformers are yet to be installed by BEDC,” Obaseki said.
He informed that the electricity distribution company has continued to deliver poor services to Edo people and maintained that evidence abound of deliberate attempt on the part of BEDC not to sell or distribute meters to customers.
He added that as a government “we have extended our cooperation to resolve some of these problems, but the company has remained uncooperative.
“The people are over-billed with the estimated billing system of BEDC. We lost a student due to the negligence of BEDC, for refusing to fix a pole that was knocked down after receiving money to fix it. I have instructed the Attorney General of Edo State to file charges of criminal negligence against the senior management of BEDC,” Obaseki said.
Earlier, the Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Louis Edozien, expressed his appreciation to the people of Edo State for the hospitality extended to the power conference participants.
He lauded Obaseki’s approach to governance as attested to by Edo people and residents, and explained that the country currently produces 7,000MW of electricity, but regretted that it is only able to distribute 5,000MW, leaving the country with unused 2,000MW, due to transmission challenges.