Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) has stated that it cannot repair or replace old transformers if customers don’t pay their bills.
Speaking during a stakeholders forum in Calabar, the General Manager Commercial of PHEDC, Joseph Aikowe, said it is incumbent on customers to pay their bills for the company to fix the broken transformers.
Aikowe emphasised that when consumers don’t pay, it hampers their operations and the capacity to respond as quickly as possible.
He said: “The issue of transformers have arisen and when they arise, it is incumbent on the customer to play their part. We need funds to fix the assets that have gone bad. A situation where customers don’t pay and the debts are running into millions, these assets need to be repaired; so, it’s a partnership.
“The only thing customers owe us is to pay their bills and when they do, we fix the assets that have gone bad. When they don’t pay, it becomes difficult for us to react to these issues as quickly as possible”, he said
On rinsing complaints of various forms of extortion by some officials of the organization, particularly in the area maintenance of transformers and other power installations, the GM Commercial, enjoins customers in its franchise area to help in identifying corrupt officials who go about extorting money from them.
According to him, “We have zero tolerance for corruption and I have said severally and can be quoted anywhere, people are being dismissed on weekly or monthly basis when they go astray.
“I will not be able to state the exact figures but it’s a routine. When you are caught, we dismiss you, take you to the police and have you prosecuted. If somebody goes around and says he is a PHEDC staff, identify the person and let us know and we will discipline him, corruption is so unacceptable to us,” he said.