Worried by the epileptic power supply in Bayelsa State, the state government has summoned the officials of the Port Harcourt Distribution Company, demanding explanation for starving the state for some months.
It was learnt that at the meeting in Yenagoa, held in the office of the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.), top officials of the distribution company, based in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, were fully in attendance.
On the government side were the state deputy governor, the Commissioner for Power, Chief Partner Ogbolo, top officials of government and some Ministry of Power officials.
Before the government’s intervention, the state, particularly the capital, Yenagoa, had been in darkness for close to four months with an occasional flash of light.
The state government was said to have rejected the lame excuse given by the officials that the state was owing the distribution company huge amount of money hence they decided to cut supply to the state.
The Commissioner for Power, Partner Ogbolo, in an interview with our correspondent, said the government summoned the officials in order to get the true picture of the situation and the way forward.
Ogbolo said, “As a matter of fact, the reason we have erratic power supply to the state is that PHED informed the state government that the state is owing them a huge amount of money for electricity bill.
“And for that reason, we took up the matter seriously by summoning all the officials of the distribution company in Port Harcourt including the General Manager, Transmission, who is the person that oversees all the functions in transmission.
“The meeting was called at the instance of His Excellency, the deputy governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.). We met in his office. During our meeting, we asked them to explain vividly the circumstances surrounding the epileptic supply in the state.
“Their contention has been that they had inadequacies arising from funding and that they had slim resources and that they did not have enough funds to take care of power being generated from the generating system.
“So, we resolved that they should stop starving the state because this is a state and that no matter the amount being owed by the government, government is committed to paying.
“And for that reason, the matter was presented to His Excellency, Governor Seriake Dickson. The Governor has approved the sum N50m to be paid to the distribution company so that they can resume work. I think that is one of the key areas.”
He also explained that another reason given for the epileptic supply in the state was the disruption of activities of the distribution company at Ahoada, Rivers State, by some aggrieved youths. He, however, said the PHED officials had assured the government that they had sorted out the issues with the youth hence normal operations had resumed in the area.
He further explained that during the meeting, the issue of estimated bills through which electricity consumers were charged for energy not consumed was also taken into account.
Ogbolo stated, “The nature of their billing is estimated bills, so we pleaded that they should bring meters to the state. They agreed and promised to bring about 12,000 meters to be installed for the customers.
“We also looked into the activities of light committees in the state. It has been observed that some of them have not been doing very well because they will collect money and the money will not be properly remitted into PHED account.
“These are some of the abnormalities arising from the system and we are working assiduously and in partnership with them (PHED) to ensure that light is steady in the state.”