Benin electricity distribution company (BEDC) has urged relevant state ministries for lands, survey, environment and public utilities to identify, mark and demolish illegal structures, shops or buildings that violate the right of way (RoW) of power lines in the country.
BEDC safety manager, Mr. Gilbert Nweke, gave the advice in Benin City, Edo State, while presenting a paper on, ‘Violation of Right of Way of Power Lines and Vandalism of Power Infrastructure’ at the celebration of World Environment Day organised by Independent Radio and Television (ITV), in partnership with frontline energy and environmental consultancy services (FEECS).
He affirmed the company’s readiness to partner with the four state governments under its franchise, namely: Delta, Edo, Ekiti and Ondo, while appealing to them to ensure that all relevant laws in respect of the RoW of power lines are activated by their law enforcement agents to tackle the menace.
“In line with NEMSA directive, customers that violate the right of way of power lines can be disconnected while distribution companies should not extend electricity supply to prospective customers whose buildings/structures/businesses violate the right of way of power lines,” Nweke said.
According to him, issuing letters of notifications of violation of RoW of power lines to identified defaulters and following up with the disconnection of supply would serve as a deterrent to others.
He added that deployment of social media platforms, use of print and electronic media to create widespread public safety awareness against trading or building illegal structures under power lines could also help.
Speaking on measures to curb vandalism of power infrastructure, Nweke called for the arrest and prosecution of all vandals and those who receive stolen items from them.
He advised that vandals of cables and other electrical accessories arrested by the police should be paraded on television and other means of communication to also serve as a deterrent to others.
He said BEDC has commenced fencing of its distribution substations with see-through materials for easy sighting of any suspicious movement around its installations.
He listed challenges confronting BEDC on the RoW of power lines to include; illegal connections and reconnections, vandalism of power infrastructure, meter by-pass/energy theft, illegal activities of roadside electricians on the network and hanging of wires.
Others are; unprofessional electrical wiring of houses, no earthing, trespass/illegal tampering with power equipment/installation, stringing of wires on top of iron roofing sheets of neighbours, hanging of clothes on electric wire/cable and use of aluminium ladder for illegal connections and reconnections.
At the event, BEDC was honoured with a merit award of excellence for its valuable contribution to environmental safety by the organisers.