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Residents of Yenigwe-Epie in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital on Monday shut down the Yenagoa office of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) for over an hour for serving them with darkness instead of light.
The angry placards carrying protesters who prevented people from going and out of the office complained bitterly that they were rather paying for darkness as they had been cut off from power supply for several months, adding that whenever there was light, it came in very low voltage.
The Community Development Committee (CDC) chairman of Yenigwe-Epie, Mr. Danson Oneni lamented that PHEDC was providing electricity to neigbouring community but left Yenigwe-Epie in darkness.
The protesters also accused PHEDC of complicity in the incessant vandalization and stealing of armoured cables in the community and sell same back to the community.
He advised PHEDC to provide electricity meters to avoid the existing arbitrary billing of electricity consumers.
Also speaking, the light committee chairman of the community, Mr. Ebianga Tuice asked PHEDC to urgently remove the isolator line in the area, which according to him, was being used to isolate the community from enjoy light like her neighbours.
Addressing the protesters, the head of Integrated Business Centre, Engr. Anya Chukwu denied the allegation that his men were stealing and vandalizing cables, adding that vandalization of PHEDC materials was not peculiar to Bayelsa.
He emphasized that those involved in vandalization of PHEDC armoured cables were non-professional hoodlums, noting that those arrested so far in connection with cable vandalism did not proved to be professionals.
He, however, attributed the power outage to non-payment by electricity consumers, pointing out that people were paying below what they consumed, making it difficult for the distribution company to serve them adequately.
“We are buying eletricity and sell it to willing buyers. I can understand where we are coming from. Yenagoa is an area where government used to paying for electricity consumed by the public.
“Payment is key, if consumers can pay at least fifty percent of electricity consumed, they can enjoy ten hours electricity supply everyday,” he added.
Chukwu, however, promised to remove the isolator line and restore electricity to Yenigwe-Epie in twenty-four hours t, urging the people to pay their light bills regularly to enable the company serve them better.