By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna.
Piqued by the outrageous power outage from the national grid, Niger state government has finally bore it’s fangs against the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, (AEDC) and demanded explanation for the the month long power outage across the state.
For the umpteen time this year, public power supply to most parts of the state have been epileptic and none existent in many parts of the state for upwards of two weeks.
And this is happening to Niger state which is host to the three hydroelectricity generating dams of the country, (Kainji, Jebba and the Shiroro hydroelectric dams) whose combined generation capacities is over 4000 megawatts of electricity to the country.
Niger state is under the AEDC catchment distribution belt. But it suffers recurring, embarrassing power outages since AEDC won the bid during the unbundling and sale of the defunct National Electric Power Authority as one of the distribution companies.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in the state, Mr. Jonathan Tsado Vatsa on Friday queried the AEDC over what he called gross disrespect, irresponsibility, and abuse of contractual terms by the AEDC.
Vatsa lamented the weeks of continuous power outages being experienced in the state and said Niger state deserves better treatment than what it was getting from the power distribution company.
“For over two weeks now, there have been total blackouts without any explanation from the company responsible for power distribution to the state”. And in a fist of anger, the Commissioner said enough is enough even as he demanded for an explanation as to why the state is being treated with such levity by the AEDC.
But the Regional Manager, AEDC, Mr. Habeeb Quadri had earlier told newsmen that the blackout was due to low power generation from the national grid.
He said the drop in power generation was responsible for the blackout being experienced in parts of the state. He noted that the problem was not peculiar to Niger state but a national issue being experienced across the 36 states and the federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The AEDC Regional Manager while giving graphic details of the power situation in the country, said “all the generating platforms from all the hydroelectric dams including Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba go into the central pool at Egbim Power Station before it is shared and distributed to parts of the country”.
Niger state government in a statement signed by Vatsa said enough is enough just as it demanded for explanations on why the state is experiencing such blackouts despite its contributions to the supply of electricity to the entire country.
The state government is insisting that the persistent power outages without explanations from the AEDC is unacceptable. The statement argued further that courtesy demands that citizens should be given prior notice of any major changes in supply line of any pubic utility service because it is their right.
“Courtesy demands that the AEDC informs citizens of any actions it is taking that could cause power outage. The people do not know whether there is a facility breakdown or if the company is doing maintenance on its facilities and this is not fair” he said.
He said the AEDC as a public service provider, has fallen short of expectations in its customer relationship by allowing such lapses in communication gap.
Vatsa called for prompt restoration of public power supply to the state adding that “whatever the challenges are, the company should hurry up and fix it because citizens across the state are agitated and angry over the continuous blackout.”
The three hydroelectric power generation stations located in Niger state have a combined capacity for 4,800 megawatts (1,600MW each).
Vatsa insisted that the state deserves special considerations for contributing about 75 percent of the entire power generation for the entire country.