High electricity bill, Assembly queries PHEDC in A/Ibom
By; Patrick Titus, Uyo.
It may no longer be business as usual for Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) as the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has urged the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to exercise her roles effectively to address the exploitative billing practices by PHEDC in the state.
PHEDC which has its headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is a company licensed to distribute electricity in Akwa Ibom State and other states within the South South zone of Nigeria.
The Assembly decision last week was sequel to a motion on notice brought on the floor of the House by Otuekong Nse Essien, a member representing Onna state constituency on the exploitative electricity billing in the state by PHEDC for power not supply.
The resolution also urged the Akwa Ibom state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel to do something urgently to protect the state government investment in the Ibom Power Plant at Ikot Abasi with the view to ensure that the people of the state derived maximum benefit from that multi-billion naira investment.
It equally advised the federal government and all relevant agencies to consider a close monitoring of all electricity distribution companies in the country in order to ensure that appropriate sanctions are meted out to erring companies whenever necessary.
The Assembly also invited the management of PHEDC to appear before its executive session to offer explanation on high electricity monthly charges in the state.
Essien in presenting the motion on notice expressed worry that the PHEDC having utilize the facilities of Ibom power plants, an investment of the state government has failed to improve in its services to the masses despite the plant production capacity of about 113 mega watt of electricity.
He posited that despite the facilities, many electricity consumers in Akwa Ibom state have continued to suffer epileptic power supply, causing an increased hardship on the people, especially the low income earners.
“Whereas even under the dilemma the PHEDC insists on charging the people of Akwa Ibom state unreasonable, exploitative and fraudulent bills, in some cases, often as high as N30,000 to N80,000 are charged for power either not supplied or delivered epileptic fits and spasms,” Essien stated.
The lawmaker wondered why NERC has not been able to get PHEDC and indeed all electricity distribution companies in the country to operate in line with the international best practices. He pleaded with members to see the need to invite the management of PHEDC to appear before the house and explain the high bills in the state.
Motion to the matter was moved by Elder Udo Kierian Akpan, member representing Oruk Anam state constituency and seconded by member, Ini state constituency, Mr. Emmanuel Ekpenyong who is the Chief Whip of the House