Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, has appealed to the National Assembly to enact a strong anti-theft legislation to empower Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN successor companies to prosecute electricity vandals.
The Managing Director of 4Power Consortium Limited, the core investor inPHEDC, Mr. Matthew Edevbie,who made the appeal also expected such legislation to include customers who attack utility personnel in the cause of their duties.
He made the appeal when he received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Commercialisation and Privatisation, who were in Port Harcourt in continuation of their nationwide oversight visit to various PHCN successor companies.
Edevbie revealed that the PHEDC, since taking over the DISCO in November 2013,has recorded significant achievements.
These include the construction of new 33KV lines at Trans Amadi Industrial area; re-conduction of Okrika 11KV feeder for Jokrama Communities in Ahaoda; and commissioning of the NIPP 1 x 15MVA 33/11KV Injection Substation at IkotAbasi;
Others are RVSG constructed 1x15MVA 33/11KV Injection Substation at Eleme; RVSG constructed 1x15MVA 33/11KV Injection Substation at Eliozu-Eneka; 4 units of 1 x 15MVA and 15MVA Injection Substation in Trans Amadi; 22 units of Distribution Substations, and general maintenance of the network.
He however lamented that the condition of the network his company inherited was worse than envisaged, and listed higher average technical, commercial and collection, ATC&C Loss, the Multi Year Tariff Order, MYTO assumption, vandalism among others as the challenges being experienced by PHEDC.
In a similar tour of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the DISCO, Mr. Robert Dickerman, called on the Federal Government to address the problems of inadequate gas supply to the GENCOS and pipeline vandalism which militate against power generation in the country.
Dickerman further revealed that Nigerian engineers and accountants were currently being interviewed for employment by the company.
In her remarks, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee, Honorable Khadija Bukar Abba-Ibrahim, stated that the purpose of the oversight tour was to assess the performance of the companies since the acquisition of the 60 percent equity in the enterprises.
The tour will also enable members to review the development and investment plans for improving, maintaining and stabilising power distribution in the country.
“We will like to have honest interactive discussions on the challenges with the view to intervening for the benefit of the investor and the Nigerian people,” she added.
She also revealed that her Committee was using the visit to ascertain the level of compliance to the post acquisition development plans submitted to BPE by the core investors.
Also to assess challenges in implementing the Share Sale Agreement, SSA, with a view to partnering with the investors to make recommendations for appropriate legislation that will help in resolving the challenges and stabilising power generation, distribution and transmission across the country.
She commended the management of the companies for their concerted efforts and well-articulated plans to expand the network and urged them not to relent in their efforts at making the company a success.