By; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City
The Edo State Government on Monday in Benin City, frowned at the poor supply of electricity by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) to residents of the state.
Representative of Governor Godwin Obaseki and Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, Hon. Yekini Idaiye, made the government’s position known while declaring open the 4th National Council on Power (NACOP) themed: “Increasing Access to Electricity Through Improved Power Infrastructure,” held at the Government House, in Benin City, Edo State.
He said the daily average supply of electricity put at eight hours, was less than 20 percent of the estimated consumer population of 1.2 million who have post and pre-paid meters.
The commissioner stated that majority of the consumers are groaning under the estimated billing system with its attendant high corporate fraud on the part of BEDC, noting, “BEDC since inception has not added any value to the Infrastructure it inherited which explains the poor and deteriorated state of the power infrastructure in this part of the country.”
He explained that the special technical committee constituted by Edo State Government to undertake a comprehensive audit of the power infrastructure in the state revealed the poor state of the infrastructure.
According to Idiaye, BEDC personnel on the field are unprofessional in their conduct and openly engage the services of military personnel to intimidate and brutalise customers, noting, “This programme is coming at the right time as people in the state want improved access to power supply.
“Nigerians want to have improved access to power supply and industries want to have electricity to scale up production”, added.
But the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSDC), Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu, urged the federal government to make electricity more accessible to the people as it will enhance the growth of the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), create employment opportunities, and boost economy activities.”
The Commandant who was represented by the Assistant Commandant General in charge of Protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure, Jonathan Iyogho, urged government to increase access to pre-paid meters as it will ensure payment for what is consumed and save energy due to controlled usage.