Posted by News Express | 17 March 2016 | 2,514 times
The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) says extended power outage in Bayelsa was caused by unsustainable indebtedness by its customers in the state.
Mr Jonah Ibome, Manager, Corporate Communications, PHEDC, told our correspondent on Wednesday that indebtedness of customers in the state as at December 2015 stood at N10.6bn.
Ibome said that a breakdown of the figure showed that out of the figure shows that residential customers were owing N9.4bn while commercial customers were owing N1.2bn.
He said that the power distribution company had battled with poor revenue collection since it took over from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria as 76 per cent if its customers to do pay for electricity used.
Ibome said: “The power shortage experienced in Bayelsa has more to do with local problems bothering on the unwillingness of customers to pay for electricity used, although the drop in generation was a factor but we still had some power.
“In that circumstance we were compelled to give priority to customers in other states with better records in terms of settlement of bill, only 24 per cent of our customers pay their bills in Bayelsa.
“It is unsustainable for us a business to run at such a level, and we had to take the hard decision.”
The energy crisis which had persisted for over one month had taken a negative toll on residents artisans, restaurants, barbing and hairdressing salons and other business owners who were compelled to source fuel at higher costs.
Petrol price has gone up to between N150 and N180 per liter from the approved pump price of N87 at the state capital.
Ibome however appealed to electricity consumers in the state to live up to their expectations to enable the company to remain in business.
He said that PHEDC was meeting its stakeholders in the state with a view to enlist their support and understanding on the new tariff order recently approved by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
Ibome noted that the marginal increase in tariff ranged from 12 per cent to 15 per cent to some categories of customers while the rural poor were not affected by the increase.
He assured that the new tariff would stabilise the electricity supply sector as it will make funds available to the power distribution companies to invest in upgrading the network for better service delivery.
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