-Grills BEDC Team Over Epileptic Power Supply
Emmanuels Ani, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State House of Assembly, Thursday, passed the revised 2016 Appropriation Bill into law, just as its members listened to submissions of a management team of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), which was invited to plenary, to explain epileptic supply of electricity to the state.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Speaker of the House, Stephen Gbadamosi, in Ado-Ekiti, the revised Appropriation Bill was passed after the chairman of the House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Honourable Samuel Abiola Jeje, submitted its report to the whole House.
Jeje had said, “At the close of the committee’s exercise, a total sum of N48, 200, 100, 797:80 only has been proposed to the House as current expenditure for consideration,” under listed sub-headings, while “the total sum of N22, 353, 061, 886: 81 only was approved by the committee as capital expenditure.”
Speaker of the House, Right Honourable (Pastor) Kola Oluwawole, commenting on the bill, said “the bill’s passage was accelerated because of the state government’s desire for infrastructure development. This will assist the government to meet up with the proposed projects and her ongoing ones.”
He explained that the committee had redistributed wealth in accordance with the current realities and with the aim of assisting the Ayo Fayose-led administration to achieve its massive infrastructural revolution goals.
Earlier, while addressing the BEDC team, some of the lawmakers queried why Ekiti people had not been enjoying electricity, as well as why there was unavailability of prepaid metres for the consumers, even as some had paid for it, among others.
The House maintained that the poor service delivery had made life unbearable for the people of the state, especially those who used electricity for their daily jobs.
Commenting, Pastor Oluwawole wondered if the consumers were feeling reluctant to pay the BEDC simply because they weren’t supplied electricity. He advised the BEDC to “motivate the consumers by giving them light so that they can pay.”
Speaking to some of the questions, the Chief Transmission Officer of Ekiti and Ondo states for BEDC, Mr Ernest Edgar, appreciated the Ekiti State House for its proactive measure of addressing problems, not only of electricity, but all others, in the state, adding that the House was the first to pass the state Electricity Regulation Bill into law.
He said non-prompt payment of BEDC bills was part of the reasons for poor provision of electricity in some parts of the state, adding that the company paid for the electricity from the transmission companies.
“We give out what we have,” he said.
The team solicited the support of Ekiti people in paying their BEDC bills as and when due, so as to allow the company to improve on its services, while promising not to bill them arbitrarily.
At the end of the meeting, part of the resolutions read on the floor of the House included that; the BEDC should make available prepaid metres free of charge to the people of Ekiti State; the company should do the needful to make stable and regular electricity available to Ekiti people; and that government should endeavour to pay its incurred BEDC bill as and when due, so as to make it easy for the company to improve on its services.
The BEDC was also mandated to make a workable arrangement with security agencies and every community in the state for the safety of BEDC equipment, while the House Committee on Public Utility was asked to interface with BEDC further on the matter and make such a continuous exercise.
“The quickest way to resolve the matter is to make sure that prepaid metres are provided. This will solve the problem of indebtedness. BEDC should emulate the idea of other service providers like MTN, Glo, Airtel and others and they should make adequate provision for security of their equipment, since these equipment belong to them,” Oluwawole concluded.