April 14, 2010

Electrocution: PHCN in talks with victims’ families

By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—GENERAL Manager in Charge of the Benin electricity distribution zone of Power Holdings Company of Nigeria, PHCN, Engr. George Chiatula, said yesterday that the management was currently in talks with families of victims of electrocution caused by explosion of its transformer at Andrew Wilson Housing Estate in Benin.

No fewer than three persons, all residents of the estate, were electrocuted as a result of the explosion.
Chiatula, who yesterday appeared before Edo State House of Assembly over the matter, said the meeting with the families would enable the company know what next to do.

He said:  “It is not that we are insensitive. When this incident happened, I was not in town. The Manager, Sakponba distribution centre, visited the place and unfortunately, the two families were not around and when I came back, I also visited the place.

“We have opened up discussions with the families because I think it is a very sorrowful thing to lose our beloved ones. And it is only the families that can say what we are going to do.”

Chiatula disclosed that the company had also met with residents of the estate, just as it had carried out checks on its equipment in the area.

“What we have done so far is that we have met with members of the housing estate and also with families of the bereaved. And, of course, we have conducted checks at the three main entry points to the estate and at out sub-station to find out why this thing happened.

“Three major checks were carried out at the sub-station, the voltages at all the terminal points of the transformer were also checked and the transformer is sound and very good.

“We have also checked the neutral lines in the houses and the earth resistance value of each of the house. So by today (yesterday) evening, we hope to restore electricity supply to the estate up to the transformer point.  We promised the people of the estate on how to restore confidence to them,” he told the lawmakers.

Explaining what actually happened on the day of the incident, Chiatula said there was a reaction from equipment at the sub-station, adding that the lightening and restore gave way and could not arrest the source of supply through the earth.

Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Bright Omokhodion, said Nigerians were not aversed to paying electricity bill but deserve efficiency of service from PHCN.

He called for total overhaul of the technical department of PHCN, stressing that a look at the annual budget of the company revealed that it was not funding that was its problem but a veritable avenue for siphoning public funds.