Groups Warn Against At­tacks on BEDC

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD | NEWS - 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.

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