Matters Arising: BEDC Officials’ Negligence And Exploitation Of Deltans

**Residents Gear Up For Protest Over Outrageous Estimated Bills, Negligence

-By Albert OGRAKA:

The unholy acivities of the Benin Electricity Development Company (BEDC) in parts of Delta state have become a torn in the flesh of Deltans as a result of gross negligence, exploitation and hindered services.

The management of the company have also been alleged to be compromised as complaints from members of the public about the nefarious activities of their staff usually fall on deaf ears.

An incident of note was when an 11 KVA High Tension wires were cut off in a residential area in Okpanam area under the jurisdiction of BEDC on Friday, May 25, 2018, making residents to run for their lives.

Despite a call put across to the Manager, Mr. Godspower describing the location and explaining the situation which posed serious danger to the residents at 12:56pm, it took BEDC officials over three hours to arrive the scene, after residents mounted sentry to warn passersby and motorists of the lurking danger.

Efforts to futher reach other officials of BEDC was scuttled as calls made to one
Engr. Stephen, who had earlier claimed to be in charge of the affected area did no go through as his phone line was switched off, an act which a BEDC official later disclosed was deliberate since he was unwilling to swing into action. “That is his style. He only acts when money is involved.”

To the chagrin of this writer, when the officials led by their team leader, Mr. Monday eventually arrived the scene, they became furious with the caller, saying that “Why are you calling us. Don’t you know that our vehicle is not functional?”

When reminded about the dangerous effect of a powered 11 KVA High Tension wire dangling on the ground in a residential area, the BEDC official responded that, “,Anybody can die and we will defend it anywhere. After all we are not getting much fund from this neighborhood.”

Meanwhile, as soon as the BEDC officials arrived the scene of the cut-off high tension wire, the official Hilux van they came in broke down in the middle of the road. It also took the efforts of this writer to hire a car battery, as they also bitterly complained that “the engine of this car is dead and we do not have any means to leave this place after the repairs.”

Only recently, BEDC officials besieged some parts of Okpanam and Asaba with heavily armed military personnel in a white Hilux Van and two black Landcriser Prado Jeep with registration numbers KSF 987 EL and KSF 347 EW.

The team led by an expatriate embarked on mass disconnection of electricity, carting away electric wires to the astonishment of residents, whose complaints of over billing due to BEDC’s alleged estimation of their residences fell on deaf ears.

A resident whose light was cut-off in the process described what is faced by electricity consumers as unfair and unjustified. He said, “This is outrageous and broad-day light stealing, humiliation and oppression by BEDC to Nigerian Citizens of Delta State, Edo and other area of jurisdiction of BEDC.”

Another resident complained bitterly saying, “Our monthly estimated electricity bills for a three-bedroom bungalow when electricity actually lasts for few hours daily ranges from between N30, 000 and N50, 000. How can such bills be said to be fair. We were exploited by one Mr. Ejiro of BEDC who demanded so much money to give us prepaid meters. We are yet to see any after collection of money with the pretext that we will get them.”

Aggrieved Deltans have therefore called on the federal government, NLC, Human Right Commissions, the Management of BEDC and other concerned Nigerians to be conscious and aware of the suffering ordinary Nigerians are going through in the hands of BEDC.

Meanwhile, landlords and homeowners in Delta State have vowed to take to the streets to protest what they claimed was “outrageous estimated electricity bills” from the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC).

The anticipated protesters are demanding the installation of prepaid meters to all desiring homes in the state capital, complaining about alleged demand by some BEDC officials for N100,000 for the installation of the meters.

Although some BEDC officials, under condition of anonymity have claimed that they were given a matching order and mandate to generate funds by all means, that the amount they generate, will determine salaries; and since then they have been issuing indiscriminate and unchecked estimated bills on their customers and Nigerians, millions of Nigerians have been facing the same agony and humiliation of estimated billing with mutiny by BEDC, especially those who do not have means to present their case to the general public.

***Watch out for more reports on activities of BEDC in Blank NEWS Online

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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