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Yenagoa outage persists as shutdown of PHEDC operations over N16.5b debt lingers

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THE outage occasioned by the face-off between the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) has entered the 10th day with unpleasant consequences.

On December 23, 2019, the IYC besieged the offices of the PHEDC and forced the staff members to shut down operations, occupying the premises to protest against poor power supply to residents.

The development, which resulted in blackout in Yenagoa and its environs, Ahoada and some parts of Rivers State, has made residents to rely wholly on generators with resultant increase in petrol demand and cost of living.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) findings in Yenagoa indicate that filling stations now struggle to cope with long queues of residents who throng the stations and wait for hours to buy fuel in jerry cans.

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It was learnt that dialogue and other efforts to resolve the conflict was stalemated, as the company claimed that it was grappling with a N16.5 billion debt as at November 2019, which hindered its operations.

The IYC subsequently challenged PHEDC to substantiate its claim that customers in Bayelsa owed N16.5 billion.

Central Zone Chairman of IYC, Kenedy Olorogun, who gave an update on a dialogue sought by the Bayelsa State Government to resolve the face-off, said the debt claim was a ‘fairy tale’ to cover up incompetence.

He said information from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) showed that there was sufficient power at the substation in Gbarain, Yenagoa, but the PHEDC was not supplying power to homes.

Investigation showed that TCN, on August 20, 2019, announced the lifting of a suspension order from the electricity market it placed on the PHEDC on July 27, 2019 for breach of Market Conditions and Participation Agreement.

A notice on TCN’s portal also indicated that the lifting of the sanction was a regulatory measure to ensure that distribution companies evacuate available power.

TCN said that lifting of the sanction followed PHEDC’s compliance and took effect on August 19, 2019.


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Ijaw Youths CouncilPHEDC
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