By Davies Iheamnachor – Port Harcourt
The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHED, has bemoaned the debt of over N5.8 billion owed it by Afam communities in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The General Manager Services, Ochuko Amah who also regretted the shutting down of their power plant by youth in the area, noted that the people have consumed electricity for over seven years without payment.
Amah, who represented the Managing Director of PHED, Dr. Henry Ajagbawa noted that the electricity bill for Ndoki 2 amounts to N4,037,125,477, for electricity bill for 2013 to 2020 while Ndoki 1 owes 1,790,846,420, standing for debt for 2015 to 2020, adding that the area that plays host to power plant wants free electricity.
She noted that the issue of shutting down the power system at Afam by community youths had begun since 2016 because of the erroneous belief that electricity should be free, adding that they have engaged communities in Oyigbo for about 10 times on the issue of non-payment of electricity bill.
Amah apologized to residents of the state for the inconveniences of the unexpected shutdown, noting that the national grid has since being reconnected.
Amah said: “For Oyigbo, we have engaged the community for about 10 times on issues of nonpayment of electricity bill. As of today, they owe us 5,827,971, 896 naira, we are talking about over 5 billion naira. The question is, if they owe us such a huge amount why do we have them still challenging us by shutting down our system?
“We have had issues in the past where they shut down our system for about three times between 2016 to date. The Oyigbo community believes that we must give them electricity for free.”