By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR – INHABITANTS of Calabar Metropolis, especially Calabar South, parts of Calabar Municipal and Odukpani Local Government Areas, Cross River State, have screamed over the collapse of power in the areas for more than two months, which not just dislocated their economic and social activities, but led to an upsurge in criminal activities.
Finding by NDV showed that cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers find the affected areas attractive to operate in at night because of the obscurity and the people were baffled that the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, has neither explained the reason for the embarrassing situation nor risen to the occassion.
Business owners, including operators of supermarkets and relaxation spots now close before 9.00 pm because of the worsening development, as armed robbers attacked them regularly. They complained of the high cost of buying fuel to run their generators.
PHED should come to our rescue – Mrs. Ekpeyong
One of restaurant operators at Goldie Street, Mrs. Sandra Ekpeyong, told NDV, “I have two generators that I use in this place, I run the big one from 2.00 pm till 6.00 pm to make sure that my drinks are chilled, while from 6.00 pm down, I use the small one till 11 pm or 12 midnight.
“But things have changed because of a lack of power from PHED, now I have to make sure that the drinks are chilled because people do not want to know whether you have light or not. It got worse two months ago, I have to buy fuel of N1,500 daily, both for the big and small generators, then N2000 at weekends because we stay longer in the shop.
“However, coupled with the fact that things are changing because of robberies although we thank Ayade’s Homeland security, but power outage is a contributory factor, PHED should help the ordinary people because all our profit has gone into purchasing fuel. We spent N45, 000 for fuel at N1, 500 every month,“ she lamented. We’re truly suffering– Mr. Okon
A resident and proprietor of APC Concept, a barbing saloon at Ekondo Street, Mr. Akpama Okon, regretted the outage in the state capital, saying the action has caused him untold hardship and losses.
“We run a generator 24 hours daily, I have three generators , a big one and two small ones, I spend a minimum of 15 liters of fuel, I have an air conditioner that I must switch on for some of my VIP customers, which is why I have the big generators, while the small one we use them in the evenings . It is even getting worse .For about six weeks now, I have not seen light for up to 8 hours in this shop, and we have been on generator.
“I have people who I pay salaries, I have three employees, that money I spend on fueling the generators can conveniently pay them but it is getting worse by the day because of what PHED is doing. We are really suffering, for how long are we going to continue like this, I wish this Ayade power plant can come on stream this year may be it will help,” he asserted
Customers arrest us if their items go bad – Aniekanm, cold-room operator
A cold room operator, Mr.Idongesit Aniekanm, bemoaned, “Most times the fishes and meat I store for my customers get bad because to run my soundproof generator is not easy. Before now, the power supplied by PHED helps to compliment while we use the generator too, but now the story is different”
She added, “I have to call the owners on phone to come and pick them. Some of them have even spoiled. Sometimes, I have to pay for some of these things because the agreement is to make sure the items are frozen and when they go bad, some will just arrest you because it is none of their business how you keep their items preserved. This is where I get money for my family, school fees, house rent and other bills, where do I go from here.”
Accept our apology- PHED
Contacted, Corporate Communications Manager, PHED, Mr. John Onyi, said the company was aware of the situation and was working assiduously to restore power to all parts of the metropolis.
“We are re-conducting some of our feeders and carrying out general maintenance on some of our installations, the people should bear with us because we want to give them quality service delivery, we apologize for any inconvenience, some areas are already enjoying our services it will soon be spread across the metropolis,” he said.