Re-Blackout: IBEDC SEEKS INTERVENTION IN ISEYIN YOUTHS INTIMIDATION, APOLOGIZES TO OYO TOWN & SAKI

IBEDC response to the Protest Staged at Oyo town, on 11th of March, 2017:

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The management of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) wishes to inform the public, stakeholders and our valued customers especially those in Oyo Town, Saki, Ado Awaye and environs that the present unavailable power supply to the aforementioned areas is due to the lingering Iseyin Community Protest which has now resulted into a mob attack while the company was trying to secure supply to Saki, Oyo town and other communities outside Iseyin.
This mob action which occurred on Tuesday 7th March, 2017, was a reaction to our withdrawal of services which was brought about by the protest action of Iseyin Youths on the 20th of January, 2017. The youths carried out the attack as retaliation after their unreasonable demands were rejected, one of which was refusing to pay for electricity consumed since the day of the initial protest till the day our services were withdrawn. During the incident, the company was forced to contact the Police Area Commander for Oyo who instructed the DPO in charge of Iseyin to protect our employees and disperse the mob. Unfortunately, this was not achieved as the irate youths proceeded to attack our installations. Three of our staff members had to run for safety to Iseyin police station while two vehicles were damaged. The drivers of these vehicles and a technical staff were then forced to reconnect the dropped J & P d-fuses. The mob also gained entrance into the control room of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) at Iseyin and wounded the security personnel on duty. This came despite several meetings with the traditional ruler of Iseyin, Oba Abdul Ganiyu Salau, the Aseyin of Iseyin, a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Honourable Afeez Adeleke, Leaders and Elders of Iseyin Descendants Union and Iseyin Consultative Council to resolve the issue. The management has since reported the issue to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Council (NERC) for arbitration and mitigation of damages.

It is pertinent to note that the management of IBEDC had held several community engagements under the auspices of its Oyo regional management & IBEDC Head office, with the Iseyin communities since the 30th of January, 2017 which the Aseyin of Iseyin presided over. One of their agitations was that the company had neglected them in the distribution of pre-paid meters. This could not be true as IBEDC had just installed over 140 prepaid meters as part of our metering commitment to the area. This came even though an investigation just revealed that out of the 1,700 pre-paid meters (PPM) that had been supplied to the area, over 50% of them had been bypassed- roughly 850 PPMs. Despite the staggering statistic, IBEDC still went ahead to meter them.

One of the major causes of the unrest was their claim that they barely had power supply even though the facts say otherwise. The electricity supply on the 33kV Feeders (3nos) is 20 to 23 hours per day and 4 to 6 hours per day on the 11kV Iseyin Feeders (2nos). Additionally, a 33kV breaker was deployed before the end of February, 2017 to further guarantee efficient distribution of power to Iseyin, Saki, Ado-Awaye and Oyo Towns. We also recently installed another set of new breakers (one 33kV and two 11kV) and have not ceased to carry the youths along while these installations were being done. These upgrades were done to ensure that the town enjoys longer hours of supply and that all feeders are being picked up at all times.

We wish to state IBEDC adhered to the memoranda of several engagement meetings and even stopped the distribution of bills and collection of revenue from the January 20th, 2017 even though we did not discontinue supply of electricity to the town. Ignoring our magnanimity, the youths of Iseyin went ahead to make unrealistic demands for a flat rate billing of N500 irrespective of tariff classification and consumption. IBEDC further promised the community that any verifiable payments that had been made but did not reflect in their monthly bills will be corrected, a resolve that had commenced immediately. They also requested for an immediate payment of compensation for the community’s self-installed transformers that even pre-dates the privatization exercise, to which we confirmed the company can only pay compensation if we had a prior understanding.

In all our community engagements, we affirmed that IBEDC as a private company can no longer accept accruing debts and a nonchalant attitude to payments. In line with NERC directives, we have scheduled regular community engagements to address issues before they become crises. In the engagements, we pleaded with the youths, elders and traditional rulers from Iseyin that our staff should be allowed to carry out their lawful duties of meter reading, bills distribution and collection, among others and that any vices perpetrated in the name of the company should be reported. However, all of these measures had proved abortive and the recurrent spate of attacks is to the advantage of neither party. Therefore, the management is using this platform to apologize to our esteemed customers in Oyo town, Saki and other environs of Iseyin that have been inadvertently affected by the issue. We also appeal to relevant stakeholders to intervene in the issue to ensure speedy resolution. The company is urging the communities to allow our staff to carry out their duties and to also pay for electricity consumed since the 20th of January, 2017. Only then would we be able to restore our services to the communities.

IBEDC, DISTRIBUTING POWER, CHANGING LIVES

NB: THIS WAS CULLED FROM A COMMENT IN A THREAD.

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