Bayelsa outage: Ijaw youths vacate PHEDC offices as firm pledges to restore power

Posted by News Express | 9 January 2020 | 903 times

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•Bayelsa SSG Kemela Okara

Bayelsa State Government, on Wednesday evening, resolved the rift between Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) which led to power cut since December 23, 2019.

Mr. Kennedy Olorogun, Chairman, Central Zone of the IYC, who confirmed the development in a telephone interview, said the youths have agreed to vacate the premises of PHEDC.

He said that the peace talks brokered by the Secretary to Bayelsa Government, Mr. Kemela Okara, paved way for the youths who had forcefully shut down operations of the DISCo in protest to power supply and estimated billing.

“We have suspended our protest at the instance of the Bayelsa government, there is a commitment from the government to prevail on PHEDC to restore normalcy within 48 hours.

“We have shifted grounds and the onus is on government to ensure that they live up to expectation, we took this approach to make it clear that the status quo is no longer acceptable.

“If they fail, then we shall be left with no option than to advocate the revocation of their operating licence to create an opportunity for a competent operator to take over the area.

“Our demand is simple, give us electricity and we pay for it, we cannot continue to pay when there is no light,” Olorogun said.

Mr John Onyi, Manager Corporate Communications, PHEDC, also confirmed the development in a telephone chat and assured that power supply would be restored immediately it is safe to do so.

“The IYC has vacated our premises and as we speak, we are working to restore supply immediately, but our engineers are doing the necessary checks to ensure that the feeders are in order and the network stable to deliver power.

“The intervention of the Secretary to State Government was very instrumental to resolving the conflict and we held very frank discussions and we are committed to resuming services to our teeming customers in Bayelsa,” Onyi said.

The electricity outage occasioned by the face-off between the IYC and PHEDC has entered the 16th day causing anguish to residents, and paralysing economic activities.

Fact-check however showed that TCN, had sanctioned the PHEDC for declining to take up available power from TCN’s Yenagoa substation to end users leaving power ‘stranded’.

“On Aug. 20, 2019, TCN announced the lifting of a suspension order from the electricity market it placed on the PHEDC on July 27, for breach of ‘Market Conditions/Participation Agreement.

According to a notice available on TCN’s portal, 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.

The PHEDC and TCN had been shifting blames on the poor power supply in Bayelsa, with TCN saying that the PHEDC was unable to take up available power at its substation, while the PHEDC alleged that it was not getting enough power from the TCN’s grid.

Source: News Express

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