Bayelsa: PHEDC promises to restore power as Ijaw youths vacate offices

Isola Moses

After weeks of power blackouts across the oil-rich state, the Bayelsa State Government has resolved the rift between Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) sequel to power outage since December 23, 2019.

ConsumerConnect learnt Mr. Kennedy Olorogun, Chairman, Central Zone of the IYC, who confirmed the latest development in a telephone interview Wednesday, January 8, 2020, said the youths had agreed to vacate the premises of PHEDC following the weeks-long power impasse.

He said that the peace talks brokered by Mr. Kemela Okara, Secretary to the Bayelsa State Government led to the resolution, as the youths had forcefully shut down operations of the DisCo in protest against erratic 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 the 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,” Mr. Olorogun said.

According to him, “If they (PHEDC) 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.

Meanwhile, 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, thereby causing anguish to residents and paralysing economic activities.

Fact-check, however, indicated that Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), had sanctioned the PHEDC for declining to take up available power from TCN’s Yenagoa Substation to consumers, leaving power ‘stranded’, said sources.

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