Worried by epileptic services and erratic power supply to customers, a group, Bring Back Our Light (BBOL) in Ondo State, has restated its call to the Nigerian government not to renew the licence of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).
The Bring Back Our Light stated this on Wednesday after the sudden restoration of electricity to Ode-Aye community in Okitipupa Local Council Area, one of the five communities in the southern part of the state plunged into total darkness for five to ten years.
The communities were plunged into darkness and disconnected from the national grid due to the refusal to pay their outstanding electricity bills owed from the days of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to that of the Benin Electicity Distribution Company (BEDC).
On Tuesday, the BEDC had restored electricity to Ode Aye, sparking jubilation among the locals. However, the group has advised the people not to be carried away by the euphoria of celebrating the Yuletide season following the restoration of electricity to just one of the five communities affected by the total blackout.
A press statement issued by the convener of the group, Olumide Akinrinola, welcomed the restoration of electricity to Ode Aye, but noted that the agitatation is far from over, as most communities within the senatorial district are still without power.
SaharaReporters obtained the copy of the statement entitled 'Struggle on Electricity Restoration is Not Yet Over, Stop Celebrating As The Battles Continue', which read: "We thank the Almighty God that He has delivered his people from the hand of Pharaoh called Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) following the restoration of Ode Aye community to the National Grid in line with the directive of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) in a letter addressed to the chairman Due Diligence Audit Committee (S.T. Aderehinwo), with a copy of same made available to Hon. Mike Omogbehin, with Ref. Number: NERC/05/CA/CCU/BEDC/33/17/1112, following the proof of illegal cut-off presented to NERC on July 6, 2017 by our people.
"We are happy for the breakthrough, most especially the intervention of the Federal Government in helping the incompetent and ever failing agent of darkness called BEDC in the major repair of the electrical facilities in Ondo South. We want to say that this battle is not yet over, hence we advise all the residents of Ondo South not to be carried away with this little development occasioned by community agitations.
"We need not to be overjoyous over the case until the following conditions are met: All the Transformers (TFs) in Ode Aye must be energized (it is only Orokin TF that has been energised for now); We still have the market street, unity areas, Oke-Oriota axis, Garage/Baptist areas, just to mention a few.
"After all these TFs are serviced and energised by BEDC, then every household will have electricity in Ode Aye."
The group also advised the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to be extra careful of the antics of BEDC on making the commission believe electricity has been fully restored in the senatorial district.
The statement continued: "BEDC may claim they have energised Ode Aye now, and give wrong information to NERC in Abuja and tactically escape the punishment they are undergoing now at NERC if we keep celebrating this frivolity. We know the restoration is a gradual process, but we are informing the general public that it is only fractional parts of the transformers in Ode Aye that were energised.
"All the conditions stated above are also applied to the rest of the communities under Okitipupa LG before moving to other LGs like Ilaje, Irele and Ese Odo. We also advised our people not to give room for any 'enumeration' now. They should not be allowed to start enumeration in any part of our communities until we conclude the pending account reconciliation of electricity debts, and sign an MoU on the debt profile.
"We must not score BEDC any cheap marks which may earn them renewal of their licence which is still under contention by us and sister states like Edo and Delta. We are seriously in collaboration with Edo State in the fight against non renewal of BEDC's licence, knowing fully well that Ekiti State is sold out now. If we allow BEDC to to stay, they will bite us high through their monthly and fraudulent estimated billing system.
"As we write, BEDC is romancing our people in Ode Aye to continue with estimated billing, claiming that prepaid meters are not yet in stock. As such, they resorted to group metering, which is yet to be accepted by our people."
The Bring Back Our Light group has been at the forefont for the struggle for the restoration of electicity to communities in Ondo State.