GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, has threatened to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of Benin Electricity Distribution Company, BEDC, if the company continues to keep the people of the state in darkness.
The governor accused the company of alleged criminal extortion of the people through their billings despite the fact that they failed to fulfill their obligations by giving electricity to the people.
Oshiomhole handed the warning to BEDC management at a meeting in Benin City.
Governor Oshiomhole decried the indiscriminate disconnection, failure to deliver power to the people and exploitation of the consumers through exorbitant charges.
He said: “We have had a couple of conversations with you, with your Managing Director and your senior management over the unacceptable deterioration of the services that you provide as a distribution company, and the prohibitive charges that your company imposes on the people of this state, and even the arrogance with which you respond when consumers genuinely raise concerns about growing darkness and rising bills.
“It is absolutely unacceptable in a civilized society that because you are a private monopoly, you resort to tactics which are meant to destroy the economy of this state and make life miserable for families and create such confusion that, if not arrested, you will not be able to survive in this state.
“In different parts of Edo State, when protesters raise concerns which you cannot fault, namely that you do not invest in the provision of transformers, and therefore, in many cases they are in the dark for weeks, months, some of them nine months, and even the few places you provide light, maybe three hours a day, you charge bills that are as high as 30 hours a day, and when they protest, you arrogantly disconnect them. As we speak, the traditional ruler in Auchi tells me you have shut down supply to that area, and all the businesses there, hotel owners have come to complain.
“In different parts of Edo South, Edo Central, the story is the same. And as the governor of the state, I have continued to appropriate public funds to provide facilities that ought to be provided by Benin Electricity Distribution Company. The government has no business buying transformers which is part of the cost which a distribution company should take on board. We take taxpayers’ money to buy these transformers and with or without power supply, you collect exorbitant rates.
“When I hear as you have often done that you have shut down in Igarra, in different parts of the state, including Benin area and Esan area, because people protested in a manner that you don’t approve of, you resort to abusing your power by disconnecting them. If you abuse your power like that, and I respond the same way, as I have the power to revoke your certificate of occupancy of the property that you own in Edo State, you will not be able to do business in this state without the approval of Edo State Government.”