Power Supply: Women Protest Blackout in Rivers

Power Supply: Women Protest Blackout in Rivers

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Some aggrieved women yesterday took their protest to the office of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) in Mile 1 Diobu, Rivers State, alleging total blackout in the Mile 2 and Mile 3 axis in Port Harcourt.

The protesting women marched through Dim, Wokoma, Wokoma lane, Obaziolu, Dim lane, Egbuagu, Azikiwe, Ojoto Streets before heading to the PHEDC office.

They were sighted with different placards with inscriptions such as ‘No light, no bill’. ‘Dim Street no light’. ‘No light, no payment’. ‘The Heat is too much’, among others.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) PLC, Dr. Benson Uwheru, has sympathised with customers within their coverage over the challenge of blackouts that ran into days, as a result of the recent national electricity power grid collapse.

The collapse of the power grid had thrown the entire country into total darkness. It was learnt that power generated on the grid collapsed significantly, falling from about 3,852mw to as low as 59mw.

However, the women lamented what they described as untold hardship brought upon them by the electricity distribution company, accusing PHED of serving them with darkness instead of light.

They stated that they were counting losses in their businesses because of the alleged poor power supply.

Also, they explained that “their husbands were no longer having fun with them at night due to the heat wave,” adding that couple with their inability to preserve cooked foods.

According to the women, despite their compliance to the payment of bills, there was still poor power supply in the areas.

Speaking to journalists during the protest in front of the PHED office, one of the women identified as Madam Charity explained that they staged a peaceful demonstration to Electricity Company to express their grievances.

Charity assured the company that they would re-mobilise and come for another peaceful protest if the condition of power supply in the areas were not improved.

She further urged the government to come to their aid by ensuring that PHED supply steady power to the area.

Reacting on the development while speaking with journalists at a programme tagged: ‘2024 Goal Zero: Accident Prevention and Handing Over of PPEs’, held at the PHED headquarters in Port Harcourt, Uwheru attributed the frequent blackout witnessed in parts of Rivers State to the collapse of national grid and shortage of gas supply to the discos.

Uwheru expressed the need for alternative ways of generating powers outside the national grid.

He explained that “it’s a national problem. The grid actually collapsed, we are not able to generate in terms of gas. So, is a value-chain problem; from gas supply we have constraint, the plants at the generation companies are suffocating and so there is shortage of gas which naturally affects supply.

“What you are experiencing is not peculiar to you here, it’s a national problem. Is not an excuse, as we are working assiduously to resolve all of the challenges we are facing.

“Is also called for us to think of new ways to generate power beyond the grid. Other grid generation opportunities are available that we can tap into and that is part of the strategies we are going to put in place to ensure that we improve liability and supply of power.”

He also apologied to all the PHED customers, saying: “I want to sincerely sympathise with all our customers who have experienced black out in couple of days. I want to assure them that we are not unmindful of the challenges they are going through, but I want to passionately appeal that please bear with us as we seek alternative to resolving this problem, for it is not a problem that is peculiar to Port Harcourt disco alone, but we believe that we will find a solution to it as stakeholders in the sector.”

The PHED boss added: “For us this power distribution is a hazardous business and has a lot of risks to it. And the least you can do is to employ people and give them some of protection and cover. It is the best practice, and we are committed to ensuring that we provide the right environment for people to thrive.”

Related Articles