By James Emejo in Abuja
The Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative (TADI), alongside its 46 Allied Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have condemned what it described as “consistent efforts by unpatriotic elements to sabotage the efforts of the BEDC Electricity Plc (BEDC)”, thereby frustrating efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration to ensure stable power supply to Nigerians.
The group, particularly urged the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki to forthwith refrain from antagonising the distribution company, asking him to “follow the relevant rules and guidelines as power generation and distribution is a business governed by clearly cut contract terms.”
The groups’ National Convener, Mr. Solomon Adodo, told journalists at a media briefing over the weekend in Abuja, that the issue of power distribution in state should not be unnecessarily politicised.
The civil society organisations further demanded that all consumers of electricity and stakeholders should comply with the prevailing laws by promptly paying for electricity consumed to “avoid electricity theft and particularly those hiding under the cover of civil rights advocacy to foist unlawful conduct in Edo State should desist from doing so or we shall institute the necessary legal actions against them alongside the accompanying Civil Society sanctions.”
Their position came against the backdrop of a recent incident whereby the governor had reportedly chased the Managing Director/CEO of BEDC, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, out of his office “failing to meet obligations to electricity consumers in Edo and throwing the state into darkness for weeks.”
However, Adodo said the BEDC had been confirmed to have complied with terms of its contract, achieving 64per cent compliance to metering, amid challenges accusations that the company had refused to meter consumers.
He said further investigation revealed that the disco had metered 64 per cent of households and 100 per cent of commercial entities in the state- one of the highest among discos, according to Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
“What is happening in Edo State is alarming and has reached a feverish pitch amid vandalisation of electricity installation,” he said.
He added that so far, no report had showed that BEDC had failed in its contractual obligations.
He warned that they would be left with no other option but to embark on a peaceful procession to offices of electricity regulatory agencies if there is no appropriate feedback within seven days of notice, “for the sake of sanity in our power sector.”
Also speaking at the briefing, the Technical Specialist, Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), Mr. Akin Akinpelu, said the tense situation in Edo could lead to huge shortfall in electricity if nothing is done to stop the current sabotage through the vandalisation of electricity installations.
He said given that a proportion of power generated is put on national grid and shared nationally, while there’s a certain percentage allocated to generation companies, it would be wrong to expect that Edo should enjoy all the power generated within the state simply because the power companies are located in the state.
“It should be made clear that all DISCOs are firmly protected by the contract terms and conditions under which they were issued licenses and it is on record that BEDC has not in any way breached such conditions.
“We shall resist this evil at all costs in the best interest of sustainable business practice in order not to ward off future investors and/or frustrate the gains made thus far in the power sector.”
Adodo, further called on the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), NERC, the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET) among others, “to immediately come out and clear on the needless controversies being stirred ostensibly to cripple the BEDC under its current management.”
He pointed out, among other things, that respective discos can only distribute the amount of power sold to them by NBET based on the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) allocation allotted each disco.
He said: “Thus contrary to the wrong assertions, discos are not allotted power based on what their respective states generate but as determined by NBET using the MYTO allocation system.
“Furthermore, it must be re-emphasised that BEDC takes up all of her allocation.”
On the issue of licence revocation and renewal, Adodo said: “It should be clear to all discerning minds that the federal government handed certificates of ownership to the 11 respective discos with clearly stipulated contract terms on a long term basis.
“Thus the sanctity of contract protects the discos as long term investors. The purveyors of falsehood are therefore seeking every means to cause confusion and disrupt activities of BEDC for the selfish interest of their sponsors. We condemn this act in totality,” TADI stated.