By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
The excesses of the staff of Port Harcourt Electricity Distributing Company (PHED) in Akwa Ibom State has taken a different dimension as they do not only disconnect customers lines at a slight provocation, but also go about vandalizing their cables with recklessness.
On May 25, 2020 which was a public holiday, the PHED staff stormed the Correspondents’ Chapel of the State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), office in Uyo and committed same havoc on alleged irregularity on the supply line, which members of the chapel, as journalists knew nothing about.
Some members of the chapel who were present said the PHED staff came to the chapel in the morning, inspected the premises and came up with allegation that the electricity connection to the office bypassed the meter, and alleged a cheat on the company.
According to the members present, attempt to counter the claim that the electrical meter connecting light to chapel office was installed by PHED official believed to be an expert in electrical installations yielded no positive response. Rather, they disconnected the light, vandalized the cables and rolled them away.
This act by PHED officials came in the midst of the general outcry by electricity customers in the state, especially Uyo capital city of perennial power outages in spite of the huge amount of money that the Akwa Ibom state government has sung in the power sector to improve energy supply to the state
Some consumers who spoke with newsmen in Uyo, have decried blackout and outrageous bills given to them by Port Harcourt Distribution Company the last three months even as there is a planned increase in tariff.
Among them are residents of Asutan Street off Barracks Road who expressed displeasure over the attitude of the Company sending exorbitant bills without commensurate power supply to their residences.
Mr. Akan Ukpong noted that the attitude of staff of the electricity company was not commendable of public servants.
Ukpong said that the some of the PHED staff were not keen to render adequate service to consumers but keen at exploitation to increase and enlarge their pockets.
The story is not different from those in Akpan Ukpo Street, Ebet Aya and Deeper Life Avenue Esuene Housing Estate, Obong Street and its environs electricity has been so epileptic, irregular and unstable for months, where the PHED was still giving consumers in the area outrageous estimated bills,
Mr. Moses Etim lamented, “As you can see, we have no light and the situation has been like this in the last three weeks.
“The unfortunate incident is that PHED has distributed their estimated bills without considering the fact that there is no electricity supply.
“The last time they supply us electricity it blown almost all the bulbs in this area,” Etim said.
It would be recalled that Governor Udom Emmanuel has recently, lamented that the state government was not reaping from the huge investment it has made in the power, thus advocating for the license to allow the state distribute power generated from owned plant, the Ibom Power Plant located at Ikot Abasi local government of the state.
Governor during a phone in interaction programme on AKBC Radio and TV, mentioned that Ibom Power Plant current output has increased to 119 megawatts, and faulted PHED, licensed to distribute power in four states of Port Harcourt, Cross River, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom of not being alive to the expectations in power maintenance and distribution as captured in the PPPI charter between PHED and federal government.