The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Godwin Abey-Ollo, has expressed his readiness to work with the management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, on payment of outstanding debts owed by communities in the area.
The Council boss said this, as he also urged the Port Harcourt Disco to improve remarkably on their supply of electricity to the area.
Speaking at a meeting with Community Development Chairmen of the council and officials of PHEDC in Eleme, over the vandalization of nine transformers in the area, Abey-Ollo urged the company to quickly forward him the outstanding debts of each transformer in the area.
He said as community leaders, the CDCs are responsible for PHED’s and other public facilities in their domain, and also frowned on incessant harassment of electricity workers in the area.
According to him, “I know that a lot of us are dissatisfied with the level of power supply we get, but PHEDC must devise a way to provide us more power supply because criminals thrive better in the absence of light.
“I also want us to be more responsible for PHEDC facilities in our various communities. As leaders, there is some responsibility that is expected of you, you are to educate the community on the need to protect and defend public facilities in our neighborhood.”
Responding, the Corporate Communications Manager of PHEDC, Mr. John Onyi, said constant power supply was not possible because the company was only entitled to 6.5percent of what is generated nationwide, as generation fluctuates between 3000MW and 5000MW.
Onyi explained to the people of Eleme that in the energy value chain, customers were the fifth on the chain after the Nigerian Gas Company, generation companies, Transmission Company of Nigeria and the Distribution companies.
He lamented that the major challenges facing the company were nonpayment of bills by consumers, energy theft and vandalism of its facilities.
“Business thrives when customers use the service and pay for it, that’s our major challenge. It is the money that customers pay as bills that go back to the Gencos, TCN, and NGC through Nigerian Bulk Electricity, NBET, and we also use in improving on our network as well acquire and transformers.
“Eleme for instance, their bill for this month is about N39million for the energy distributed to them. We do not disconnect where bills are paid, we only disconnect when bills are not paid. If everybody pays, there will be no need for disconnection.
“Yes energy is not enough, we agree. But the little that is given is at a cost and it is not free. If you encourage us by paying your bills, PHEDC can even divert every energy at its disposal to this place.