December 6, 2023

PHED laments as Rivers community electricity debt hits N31.5bn



By Davies Iheamnachor, Port Harcourt

The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PLC., PHED, has decried that some communities in its area of operation, Cross River, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States, are not complying with payment of electricity bills.

PHED also said that it is being owed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Governments in the area, regretting that it receives N400 million in debts monthly.

The electricity distribution company stated that power theft, vandalism and debt are among the major problems affecting its operations, noting that it is working with government to recover its debts to function optimally.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of PHED, Dr Benson Uwheru, who spoke in Port Harcourt during a media parley with reporters, pointed out that Afam Community in Oyibo Local Government Area of the State, is the highest indebted community to the firm.

Uwheru said the debt owed the electricity company by Afam community has risen to N31.5 billion, adding that the debt spanned from before PHED took over.

The MD regretted that communities have an entitlement mentality and that they are not ready to pay for electricity, but clarified that the DisCo did not enter into any agreement that power would be given for free to anyone.

He said: “One of the biggest challenges we are facing is loss of revenue from customers who are deliberately not paying their bills.

“They tamper with energy and the meters. N31.5 billion has been accumulated in a community called Afam in Rivers State. A community that uses power and does not pay for it. We have a couple of communities in Bayelsa that use power and don’t pay for it.

“Itu, a community in Akwa Ibom, uses power they don’t pay for it. When you look at our bill energy and our collection, you will find out that there is a huge gap. It ties together the challenge of power distribution. We have a situation where people want power but they don’t pay for it.”