Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Occupants of Reachman Estate in the heart of Asaba, the Delta State capital, have accused the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) of deliberately refusing to install their power transformer.
The occupants, in a mini protest on Saturday, said they have been in darkness for over two years, adding that they made contributions in the past to fix BEDC equipments that failed to guarantee power supply to the estate.
Bearing placards of various inscriptions, the residents expressed frustration over their situation, calling on the state government and other authorities to urgently intervene.
Interim chairman of the over 200 housing unit estate Jude Ikechukwu Anorie said they can no longer sustain their households with power generating sets, adding that the money spent on fuel every month was outrageous.
“What we are saying is that enough is enough, we are not finding this funny again. A litre of fuel is N145.00 and we have buying it for about two years now,” Anorie complained.
“Now we have a transformer, it is just for BEDC to come and install it for us; but when I called the manager, he told me that they have come to do first enumeration. He said they will come and do second and third enumeration before they will now take it to Benin for the next stage of the process.
“And for them to complete the process, it will take another two years; which means we are going to be in darkness for four years. This is unacceptable. That is why we are appealing to government and all those concerned to prevail on BEDC to connect us.”
Also speaking, a resident, Agualemo Abada, alleged that the BEDC is demanding over N2 million to install the transformer, adding that the over N1 million which was raised for the installation was allegedly rejected by the company.
He alleged that in the past residents were asked to pay N10,000.00 each for repair of faulty BEDC equipment, which was done; adding, however, that the equipment did not stand the test of time, as the people were soon thrown into darkness.
“Now they are asking us to contribute money to install a transformer given to us by the state government,” Abada said. “They want us to give them over N2 million. The about N1 million which we were able to raise was rejected as they claimed that it was not enough for the installation.”
Responding to the complaints, the corporate affairs manager of BEDC office in Asaba, Esther Okolie, explained that company policy stipulates that all outstanding or accumulated debts must be paid before such facilities are installed for consumers.
“The money being demanded maybe the total accumulated debt which consumers in that estate are owing the company. They must clear whatever backlog of indebtedness in terms of electricity earlier consumed so that we start on clean slate after the installation,” Okolie said, though admitting that she did not have the full details on the matter at hand.