James Sowole in Akure
Hope that electricity would soon be restored to residents of the over 2000 communities in Ondo South Senatorial District has risen as the federal government has started the recommissioning test of the massive electricity projects in the area after years of disconnection from the national grid.
The Executive Director of Engineering and Technical Services, at the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr Ife Oyedele, disclosed this at a media parley in Akure, explaining the level of work so far.
Some communities in the Southern Senatorial District of the Sunshine State, had been cut off the national grid for over 12 years and which had been affecting cost of doing business in the area adversely.
However, Oyedele at the news briefing assured that they would have power supply soon because the re-electrification projects have been completed in many of the affected communities.
The communities are situated in four local government areas of the district namely: Okitipupa, Irele, Ese-Odo and Ilaje.
The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), had in 2014 disconnected the entire communities claiming that consumers were owing N2 billion debt.
Oyedele, however, noted that some communities had been plunged into darkness for over 12 years before the general 2014 incident, assuring that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo would soon commission the projects.
Listing some of the completed projects, Oyesele said electricity would soon be restored to Ajagba, Igbokoda, Okitipupa and Igodan-Lisa, while rehabilitation had been completed with Ondo to Ore, and Ore to Irele among other towns.
“Right now what we are doing is recommissioning test. Our work is to restore power supply. In few weeks to come, the people in the area will have electricity and will be reconnected to the National grid.”
Speaking on the face-off between the people of the area, who had accused BEDC of estimated and arbitrary billing, he said, “I am not aware that any debts being owed by any people, but in any case what I know is that every consumer applies to be connected for power supply.
“It is an individual thing not community thing. But I know that in Ondo South Senatorial District, the place is not classified as eligible customers. This is an individual thing to those who applied from former NEPA. But I know that if you have outstanding you have to pay.”
On the prepaid metering policy, the Executive Director added that the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had designed an easy metering plan for the electricity providers and consumers.
“It is the responsibility and duty of DISCO to provide metres to all their customers all across the country. Anybody wishes to have this metres should approach disco.”
Oyedele, said the current intervention on electricity in the area was solely a federal government project.
He said: “This projects were conceived by the Vice President, designed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and awarded to contractors that have passed the test and it has nothing to do with any individual.
“It is purely the federal government sponsored projects and held by the Niger Delta Power Holding Limited. It has nothing to do with politics, it is about development, in provision of infrastructure; it has nothing to do with any state or local government.”