PHEDC seeks resolution of rift with IYC to end outage in Bayelsa
The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) yesterday sought speedy resolution of the conflict with the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), which resulted in shutdown of its operations and subsequent outage since Monday. IYC had on December 23, 2019 invaded PHEDC offices, forcing the staff members to ground operations and occupied the premises, while protesting the epileptic power supply in Yenagoa, and its environs since PHEDC took over power distribution.
It also protested against the estimated billing, saying the people could pay bills based on estimates when there was no power supply.The development resulted in power outage in Yenagoa and its environs including Ahoada and parts of Rivers State, as residents observed the Christmas in darkness.
Corporate Communications Manager of PHEDC, John Onyi, yesterday said that the development had taken a toll on the utility company, lamenting that Ahoada Community also shut down PHEDC office in the area leading to total blackout in the town.He said members of PHEDC staff now live in fear, as the IYC had threatened and warned them not to be seen around the offices, claiming that it had taken over PHEDC offices in Yenagoa.
“In addition, the IYC threatened that any vehicle belonging to PHEDC sighted in the city would not only be seized, but the driver would be assaulted. The IYC is demanding 24/7 power supply and removal of breakers to enable Yenagoa residents to have uninterrupted power supply.
“At various meetings previously held with the IYC, the PHEDC had made its position known that the installation of breakers was for administrative convenience and also not to jeopardise the life span of the equipment.
“On 24/7 power supply, the IYC has repeatedly been told that the limitation from the national grid does not allow that for now and PHEDC gets its share based on what is generated.“The responsibility of PHEDC for the umpteenth time is to distribute what it gets to its customers in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers State.
“Yenagoa is NOT marginalised in terms of power supply as alleged by the IYC, but it is common knowledge that every DisCo including PHED does systematic load shedding,” he explained.He, therefore, called on relevant government agencies and security agencies to prevail on the IYC to vacate PHEDC offices.
However, Chairman of the Central Zone of IYC, Ken Olorogun, said in a telephone chat that IYC was already discussing with PHEDC and the Bayelsa State Government on the development.He said that the youth group was dissatisfied with the performance of the utility firm, adding that there was no basis for using estimated billing to arrive at bogus figures when there was no corresponding supply.