By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja
The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), has defended the Managing Director of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Mrs. Funke Osibodu, on row with Governor, Godwin Obaseki, over power blackout in the state.
ANED’s Executive Director for Research and Advocacy, Chief Sunday Oduntan, apart from saying that the umbrella body was displeased by the recent treatment of BEDC’s Managing Director, Mrs. Funke Osibodu, by the Governor during a visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Power to Edo state, alleged that local politics was at display.
Governor Obaseki has walked Mrs. Funke Osibodu out of his office during the meeting for, according to him, “…failing to meet obligations to electricity consumers in the state.”
But Oduntan said in a statement that: “What is most unfortunate about the whole episode is that there is an misunderstanding about how the power sector works and this has led to the Governor’s unfair expectations from BEDC.
“I cannot also rule out with the upcoming elections and everyone looking for scapegoats, that local politics may be involved in this case and that is highly unfortunate.
“He (Obaseki) mentioned that the state generates over 600MW and as such should not be encountering power supply challenges. However, he needs to understand that the power generated at Azura or any other power plant in the country for that matter is first sent to the national grid from where it is redistributed to different DIsCos for distribution to customers.
“Benin DisCo is only entitled to nine percent of the power sent out from the national grid so it is clear that the DisCo does not have the power to retain the 600MW generated by Azura.
“More interestingly is the fact that out of this 9%, over 40% of it distributed within Edo state as the host community of the DisCo. The other three states in the franchise area – Delta, Ekiti and Ondo – share the remaining 60%. You can clearly see therefore that Edo state enjoys the lion share of what the DisCo gets already. To allocate more to Edo – which is what the Governor is advocating for – will be grossly unfair to the other states,” Chief Oduntan added.
Chief Oduntan also mentioned it is unfair to attack a DisCo that is on record as having the highest number of pre-paid meters in the country all in a bid to ensure customers get value for their money as well as to end the practise of estimated billing within its franchise area.
An earlier released statement by BEDC reported that the company had completed plans to roll more pre-paid meters with effect from first quarter of 2019 under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) programme of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory omission (NERC) to further accelerate the metering of consumers.