BEDC and Deltans. Which way forward?
The Benin Electricity Distribution Company (Nig.) Ltd (BEDC) is a monopoly distributing electricity in Delta, Edo, Ondo and Ekiti states of Nigeria. With the millions of customers under its allotted zone alongside the financial returns, it was the expectation of all that the company would improve upon power supply. Unfortunately, the BEDC has failed in this regard and woefully too especially in Delta State.
Throughout the length and breadth of Delta State, from the remotest hamlet to the state capital and the oil city of Warri, from Ughelli to Agbor to Patani, it has been the tale of darkness everything. Whereas the bills keep going up, power supply keeps coming down. Indeed today, the BEDC has become a metaphor and a parable of the problem it seeks to solve namely, darkness.
Today in Delta state, no community can boast of electricity supply for three hours in a full day. In some towns such as Ekuku-Agbor and other communities in the state, although being connected to the national grid, there has been no power supply for upwards of three years, thanks to the BEDC. Despite this, as though to add insult to injury, the bills keep coming with increments every month.
It must be noted that Deltans have never complained about these rather inflated bills, all they’ve asked for is an appreciable level of power supply. This was exactly what prompted the peace loving people of Patani to troop out to the streets to register their displeasure recently.
In Agbor metropolis, the non-supply of pre-paid meters already paid for coupled with inflated and bogus electricity bills for power never supplied, has put the people on the edge and it was not a surprise when the people went all out to protest against a decrepit BEDC.
In Sapele, the story gets even more interesting as the Federal Government has situated a fully equipped transmission station in the town. In a twist of fate, ever since the commissioning of the project, the hitherto manageable power supply has plummeted into total darkness for the inhabitants of the town.
The above are only a fraction of the ugly scenario the BEDC has plunged Delta State into.
The failure of the company to distribute power is the direct result of its selfish desires to maximize profit at whatever cost. For instance, BEDC would buy only 500KVA of electricity from the Transmission Company of Nigeria at about 5 Million Naira and ration same to over 2 million households in Delta State which will be billed an average of #10,000 per household thereby raking in a net profit of over 200%. In the eyes of the BEDC, Deltans are no more than the cow from which it only milks dry.
Deltans must be applauded for being civil and very patient with the conduct of the company. But the BEDC should not take the patience of Deltans for stupidity as there is a limit to human endurance.
Let me conclude by advising the BEDC that Deltans are not unaware of the semblance and false sense of effectiveness being displayed in the upscale areas of the state where the big men live while the greater part of the town is in stark darkness.
This politicization of power supply will not save the BEDC on the day of reckoning which is lurking around the corner. The popular adage may just come in here handy, every day for the thief, one day for the owner.
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