The Director General (DG), Cross River State Electrification Agency (SEA), Dr. Jake Otu Enya has said that the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) has failed the people of the State as they failed to restore light in turbulent area of the State (Calabar South).
He said some areas experienced black out for over four months while others don’t see it closed to one year. “The problem with power supply is not only with the State government. Federal government has contracted out power supply to private firms, and these firms are running for the profits, that are the problem in public power supply.
“Those companies are not effective and not efficient and even if we take another 5 years, there will be no radical improvement by them. If this agency has not come to being, what will be the light situation of the state; we would have been incomplete darkness”.
The DG who decried the performance of PHEDC when a cross section of people of Calabar South visited him in his office to alert him of intention to embark on mass protest over non-restoration of power for close to one year, regretted the attitude of the company.
“As I speak with you, even if it is a fuss that is malfunction in any of the transformer, PHEDC cannot give it to you, if you asked them to provide it, they will ask you to pay or contribute money for them and they will go and bring an old ones they may have taken from one point or other to come and install it for you, that is what is happening, we have seen it practically.
“They don’t have one cable, they don’t have one feeder pillar, they don’t have one thunder arrester nothing, go to their stores. The problem is from their management in Port Harcourt that is where they have their headquarters running the four states”.
Consequently, the DG lamented, “We have engaged them severally, even at their headquarters but nothing happen, they are the people that talked about fraud, this is the highest level of frauds because the entire infrastructure in the power sector was built by government, if you are privatising or commercialising, why do you think that government should not have a share in that exercise.
“Federal Government did not quantify the monetary value of the entire infrastructure; we have in our records, what the Cross River State Government has put into providing infrastructure in the electricity in the state, it is in billions. What is their contribution, they are taken everything, the worse is that the tariff they collects we don’t have one kobo yet we are the people providing these infrastructures”.
For instance, Dr Enya continued, “We purchased 187 number of transformer at the cost of N650m. These transformers were supplied. We have given 99 transformers to Calabar Municipal and Calabar South 25 transformers, Yala 8, Obudu 14 respectively, what is our benefit here, it is PHEDC that collect the tariffs”.
Speaking on behalf of the people of Calabar South, His Royal Highness (HRH) Muri Joseph Edem regretted the attitude of PHEDC stating that it took the traditional institutions and important personality’s times, resources and energy to persuade the people not to embark on mass protest.
“There would have been mass protest before now but due to persuasions from the traditional institutions, by now, it would have been a different story. We have stayed for so long without electricity, crime rates have increase, armed robbers, kidnapping and rape are on the increase.
“With electricity supply, most of these crimes would have been averted. We had series of meeting with PHEDC. The problem started with feeder pillar, they told us that they are going to spent N10-15billion and that we should give them some times.
“Two months later, they invited us again and pleaded with us that there was no money and we should give them additional times. Two months became four months, six months and up a year in some areas. The managers of power are reluctant to spent money to get money.
“When Governor Liyel Imoke was in power, we wake up one day to see streets light in our streets, Calabar Road, Edgerley, Edibe Edibe, White House Round About. Butn today, street lights have disappeared. Street light reduces crime rates and we gave the PHEDC two weeks to restore light in Calabar South”.