Officials of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company PHEDC who were in Bayelsa state recently for a customer engagement meeting ended up being booed by participants for serving the state with darkness.
But the management of the power company quickly waved the blame to the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government, maintaining that they could not have supplied more electricity to the state than they received from the national grid.
TNN reports that the grievances of participants at the event became aggravated when the PHEDC men asked them to pay their light bills regularly.
At that point, they spontaneously yelled, pointing derogatory fingers at one of the officials who was addressing the audience.
Their voices overwhelmed the speaker who made fruitless effort to pacify them as they continued to shout on top of their voices, questioning "pay for what? Pay for darkness?
Members of the audience also accused PHEDC staff of collaborating with criminal elements to vandalize transformers and amoured cable while refusing to replace spoilt or stolen electrical equipment.
One of the participants and head of the Civil Liberties Organization in the state, Alabo Nengi James also blamed the company for its poor services to power consumers.
He said "you don't supply electricity to all parts of Bayelsa. Even in Yenagoa, most parts do not have light. We pay for cables, we pay for fuse. Your men collaborate with bad boys to vandalize and steal amoured cables".
Reacting to the allegations, the spokesperson of PHEDC, Mr. John Onyi said the poor electricity situation was a national phenomenon and not peculiar to Bayelsa state.
He noted that the programme tagged our customer, our priority was a customer engagement meeting to educate power consumers on the policies and challenges of the company and their roles as customers.
Asked what was the cause of the inadequate power supply in Bayelsa state, Onyi said "Bayelsa can never be treated in isolation. It is in Nigeria and in Nigeria as a whole, you need to ask yourself, what is the megawatt rate?
"How many are they generating in terms of power generation? Whatever is generated from the national grid is shared equitably and we are entitled to 6.5 per cent of whatever that is generated.
"So it is a national issue. It is not peculiar to Bayelsa state. Because of the low supply from the national grid, we embarked on what we call the systemic load sharing and that is what we stand for".
Onyi denied the allegation that PHEDC collaborated with criminals to defraud power consumers, arguing that no arrested vandals had linked his men to culpability.
He, however, hinted that the first batch of electricity metres had arrived Yenagoa and installations begun with feeder 1 at Opolo community.