Power consumers from Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States staged a protest against the management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing in Abuja, to demand the overhaul of the management of the distribution company.
A coalition of civil society organisations under the aegis of BEDC Franchise State Peoples’ Alliance, led power users from the four affected states to the headquarters of the FMPWH. BEDC is the power distributor that distributes electricity in Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States.
Speaking at the protest, the president, Edo Civil Society Organisations, one of the CSOs in the alliance, Mr Leftist Agho, said since takeover, the BEDC has not recorded any discernable improvement or added value to what it met on ground.
Agho said: “Nigerians in the affected states have been groaning under heavy estimated and crazy bills, deliberate non-supply of meters and molestation of consumers with military personnel.
“There is also the refusal by BEDC to connect communities to the national grid, non-provision of transformers, poles and other ancillaries, creation of special electricity lines for certain institutions and individuals, while the majority are served total darkness among other inefficiencies too numerous to outline.”
He urged the government not to consider extending the date for the review of BEDC’s performance agreement with the Bureau of Public Enterprises.
According to him, “While Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti people are waiting for the end of the terrible activities that BEDC has dealt on them for over four years running, it was shocking to read in the print and broadcast media of the purported plan by the BPE and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to extend the performance agreement with additional one year, which hopefully would elapse in December 2019.
“This is insensitive to say the least of a government in the face of several protests, complaints and petitions from citizens, civil society groups, communities and youth groups from the four states of BEDC franchise area.
In October, the Federal Government announced that the date for the final performance review of the privatised electricity distribution companies would be on December 31, 2019.
The management of BPE had stated that the announcement became imperative because of the interest shown by various stakeholders in the electricity industry regarding the date for final review of Discos’ performance.
The director-general, BPE, Alex Okoh, had explained that the five-year performance agreement for all Discos with the exception of Kaduna Disco, became effective on January 1, 2015, adding that the fifth year anniversary for final performance review would, therefore, be December 31, 2019.