January 3, 2023

Delta Community, BEDC at daggers drawn over blackout

BEDC flags MAP in Delta

Benin Electricity Distribution Company


•Businesses crumble, as traders cannot afford diesel, petrol 

•Patani monarch, residents blame BEDC; urge it to rectify anomaly

•We do not restore damaged property —BEDC 

By Chancel Sunday

PATANI—THE Pere of Kabowei Kingdom, Patani, in Patani Local Government Area of Delta State, HRM (Barr.) Peremobowei S. Erebulu, Aduo III, and his subjects have complained about the power outages in the kingdom for over three years.

Lack of concern—Patani monarch

Aduo III, who spoke to NDV, called on the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, to rectify the abnormality without further delay.

He said: “The issue of power outage has not been easy for us here. We had a scanty supply earlier this year, but since after the flood, we have not had even a flash of light. Now, recovering from the devastating flood and coping without electricity has been difficult, as we all know the hike in prices of diesel and petrol as of today.

“So, it has been very sad that we have been in blackout for months and it is crumbling businesses and the liveliness of Patani, the kingdom’s seat of power and headquarters of Patani Local Government Area. It is even hard for the palace and small-scale businesses to cope as everybody is struggling to survive.

“Again, it is sad that BEDC’s response to this situation is very poor and they seem to be nonchalant about our plight. The information I gathered is that our people have even gone as far as suggesting and trying to assist them in fixing the lines with personal funds, but the response from their side is very poor.

“They seem not to be interested in making any move even when we have repeatedly made complaints to their office at Ughelli.

“It is sad, but I would plead with BEDC to look into our situation and do the needful. Before now, we had a similar challenge some years back, and they stepped in. We entered into an arrangement/agreement and they restored electricity.

“Now is another time for them to do the needful as this situation is affecting three local government areas in this part of the state. I am pleading with BEDC to do the needful to restore electricity supply to my kingdom.”

We smell foul play—Miriki, Light Committee chair

Similarly, the chairperson of the Light Committee, Patani Local Government Area, Chief Otis Miriki, alleged foul play by BEDC in electricity supply to Patani and communities along the Ughelli-Patani line.

“When I was appointed chairman of the Light Committee last year, I worked hard with the help of the local government council chairman, Isaac Aguanah, who spent millions of naira to restore electricity supply to Patani after almost four years of blackout. They restored electricity in Patani around December 2021.

“We actually had electricity supply for about three to four weeks that same month during which the then business head was transferred and a new one brought in. Since then, there has not been electricity supply to Patani, except for three days   around June 2022 after we had bought a prepaid card of N530, 000.00

“Now, we have done everything possible to restore electricity to Patani, but to no avail. We attended a meeting organised by BEDC at their Ughelli office, where all community leaders along the Ughelli-Patani line, attended, including Evwreni, Ohoror, Agoloma, and Aven, among others. 

“BEDC, however, presented light bills owed them by various communities amounting to N21m, N22m, and N24m, among others when there was no electricity supply. We asked how the bills came about when there was no power supply, but BEDC did not give any reasonable answer.

“Now, the recent devastating flood destroyed some portions of the power line and we have made all necessary efforts to restore the line but the engineer/ business head made us understand that his hands are tied over the issue.

“We have done everything possible to make sure the line is repaired without success. Meanwhile, there is steady electricity supply in Ughelli Township where he lives

“Therefore, I am calling on BEDC to replace the business head for effective performance because we smell foul play in their Ughelli office regarding our situation here. We also urge BEDC to recall the contractor handling repair works on the Ughelli-Patani line to the site.”

Allegations are false —Ughwumiakpor, BEDC

In his reaction, an official of BEDC, Engr. Ughwumiakpor, who described the allegations as false, said: “First and foremost, we do not encourage vandalism because everybody is supposed to be protecting government property. 

“The conductor at Evwreni, along the East-West Road, has been stolen and the allegation that I did not make any effort is false. The way forward is for them (consumers) to fix the vandalized property. We are not restricting anybody from fixing it. If actually they are ready to fix it, they must contract a certified contractor and inform us.

“As for the power line, there is an ongoing maintenance contract from the Ughelli Power Station to Patani, along the East-West Road,   awarded by the Federal Government. It is not the contractor’s duty to replace the stolen conductor. The contractor stopped work on the line before the recent flood for reasons not known to me.

“They are telling you half-truth, as I said earlier, the way forward is for them to fix the vandalized property at Evwreni,” he added.