Cross River Government Calls For Review Of Power Privatization, To Drag PHEDC To Court

In Breaking News, Business & Economy, National News, Politics, Reports

By Jonathan Ugbal

From L-R: DG Cross River Due Process and Price Intelligence Department, Barrister Alphonsus Eba and DG State Electrification Agency, Jake Otu Enyia during the briefing, Friday (Photo; Govt House Calabar/Jonathan Ugbal)

The Cross River Government has called for a review of the law that led to the privatization of power generation and distribution in a bid to ensure that all investments in the sector yield revenue for the state directly.

The Directors General of the Due Process and Price Intelligence department and State Electrification Agency, Barrister Alphonsus Eba and Jake Otu Enyia, made the position of the state known in a press briefing Friday in Calabar where they lamented that despite spending a whooping NGN12Billion on power infrastructure from 2007, not a dime has accrued to the state.

Jake lamented a situation where all installations became properties of generation and transmission companies as soon as they were energized and wondered why such a policy was even contemplated as he has called for the review of the law.

“I am calling for a review of that law because we have not benefited from it” Jake said noting that since the Agency was formed in 2007, about NGN12Billion has been spent on several projects yet, the state continues to witness load shedding while the distribution company is yet to install a single transformer with the two major ones at Diamond and Federal Housing faulty.

He also lampooned the lengthy bureaucratic processes the Port Hacourt Electricity Distribution Company employs in handling complains which takes over 3 months for a complain to get from the zone to the business office at Calabar road.

He decried the neglect of the state by the PHEDC which he says has not done anything new and pointed out that the relationship between the state and the company was strictly official.

“The relationship between the State Electrification Agency and the Port Hacourt Electricity Distribution Company is official. We only go to them as a corporate body, a body that has no connection to government, it is an entity of its own.

“I want to say something that to the extent that our relationship is not of mutual benefit. That is the areas that is very sour. I am saying this because the expectation is that as they are here, they are by the nature of their function and their establishment and the fact that they are managing public power supply in Cross River, they should superintend over everything regarding to that, but they don’t do that.I say that because I have been interfacing with them severally” Jake said.

Meanwhile, the state says it is dragging the PHEDC to court to find out whether the state is supposed to share in its profit.

Barrister Alphonsus told newsmen that the state will study the setting up of the PHEDC which the state is reported to be part owners and is represented in the management but is yet to receive a dime.

“I am sure we will take a look at this carefully” Eba said pointing out that; “The Attorney General will be briefed on this and we will know what to do.”

“But for the Port Hacourt Electricity Distribution Company, we will meet in court” he said.

Eba had earlier lamented that the relationship between the state and the PHEDC was not mutually beneficial and mentioned a case where his office had no light due to a faulty transformer which was replaced by the state and only energized after the payment of part of the over NGN700,000 owed the distribution company.

In a related development, CrossRiverWatch gathered that some residents had planned to protest the non supply of power which prompted the distribution company to supply power to residential areas for up to 6 hours a day since Thursday.

Several calls to the customer care line written on the bill leaflet of the distribution company did not connect and at other times, connected but the calls were not received.

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