Asaba Landlords Petition Okowa, DSS As BEDC Dares NERC

Asaba Landlords Petition Okowa, DSS As BEDC Dares NERC

Asaba Landlords Petition Okowa, DSS As BEDC Dares NERC

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The lingering crisis between officials of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company and electricity consumers of Block VII, Phase V of Asaba Core Area, Delta State, has worsened, as residents of the area may be forced to take laws into their hands if the head of BEDC in the state, Mr. Edgar Ernest, does stop intimidating residents of the area.


In a strong worded petition addressed to the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, for urgent intervention, the consumers under the aegis of Association of Landlords of Block VII, Phase V, Core Area, Asaba, lamented that trouble started when BEDC officials led by Ernest on June 8, 2017 illegally disconnected power supply to the area.

The letter which was also copied to the State Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, the State Director, Department for State Security, Asaba, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State Command, the Delta State House of Assembly and host of others, stressed that if nothing is done to the constant harassment of residents of the area, they might be forced into self-help.


A copy of the letter titled: “’Imminent Breakdown of Law and Order in Block VII, Core Area, Asaba: Petition against one Mr. Edgar Ernest and BEDC for their Lawlessness” which was signed by Mr. E. W. Ureki, and Mr. E. C. Okoro on behalf of the aggrieved landlords was obtained by our correspondent on Sunday.


The petitioners in the letter accused Mr. Ernest of using security operatives to intimidate and harass residents in the area while going about unlawfully disconnecting electricity consumers in a bid to rope residents of the area in illegal connection.


They specifically told Governor Okowa and security agencies that the activities of Mr.  Ernest, who is the State Chief Head of BEDC, violates extant laws and directives of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) which had earlier ordered him to reconnect the area to power.


According to them, “On June 8, 2017, the said Distribution Company led by Mr. Edgar Ernest disconnected our supply lines to Dublina Hotel Transformer, including the Dublina Hotels, in a manner that grossly violated our rights to the enjoyment of electricity, same being in breach of the extant laws and regulations of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).


“The allegations by the Disco for disconnection were that we connected to the said Dublina Transformer illegally, that is, by ourselves, and engaged in electricity theft, which illegal connections led to unsafe connections and loss of revenue. We were slammed with different charges as being the value of their Energy we stole.


“From our interactions with him (Edgar Ernest), we came to the conclusion that he suspected we did not have meters and were conniving with his officials to divert monies meant for the Disco.  But we immediately rebutted it by producing our bills and evidence of our vending to him.”


It stated that when efforts by residents to prevail on the BEDC Head to reconnect them to power failed, they took the matter before the Asaba Forum of the NERC, a body that is statutorily saddled with the responsibility of arbitration in disputes between the Disco and its consumers which ruled in their favour.


Since B.E.D.C. could not provide proof of its allegations even after the extra days allotted it, the Forum, on the 14th of November, 2017 delivered its ruling which it had written on 9/11/2017 directing inter-alia: that the Disco re-connect us within 48 hours of service of the Ruling, and pay a penalty of N1,000.00 (One thousand naira) per day to each of the affected pre-paid meter customers.


“The copies of the Ruling were served on B.E.D.C. on the 17th of November, 2017 by the Asaba Forum.  Mr. Edgar Ernest was also served the same day.  It is pertinent to recall Mr. Edgar’s braggadocio on the day of the Ruling, when he dismissed it as not being worth the paper on which it was written. He boasted that not even the N.E.R.C. Abuja can compel him or B.E.D.C., to restore our light.


“Our worry is that BEDC and its Delta Chief State Head, Mr. Ernest Edgar seemed to be operating above the laws of the land and they are now using the Nigerian Police to harass, threaten and intimidate us whereas the Ruling of the Asaba Forum and the directive of the N.E.R.C. Abuja, explicitly asked B.E.D.C. to pay us compensation from June 8, 2017 when we were disconnected from the Dublina Hotel transformer, and re-connect us immediately”, the letter further read.


While appealing to the governor to call Mr. Ernest and BEDC officials to order, they stressed that BEDC disobedience of the three Rulings of the Asaba Forum directing them to re-connect the area to light amounts to a gross violation of Section 63(1) of the Electricity Power Sector Reform 2005, and Conditions 4, and 50 of the Electricity Distribution License Terms and Conditions.



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