A fresh move has begun to restore electricity supply to four local councils in Ondo south district that were disconnected from the national grid since 2014 by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) over alleged indebtedness.
In the vanguard of the latest effort is a voluntary group, Bring Back Our Light (BBOL), which convened a meeting of stakeholders from the affected Okitipupa, Irele, Ilaje and Ese-Odo local councils where far-reaching resolutions on the issue were made.
The stakeholders expressed worry that the stoppage of electricity supply has destroyed the economies of the Ondo south which is the industrial base of the state.
The situation has made artisans, institutions and others who depend solely on electricity supply to have no means of livelihood since 2014 thereby increasing the level of criminality, social vices and poverty in the affected communities.
A statement issued at the end of the meeting held in Okitipupa reads in part: “We have agreed that certain amount of money will be paid to defray our indebtedness to BEDC and payment modalities shall be handled by sub-committees to be set up in furtherance of the said objectives.
“The BEDC should stop manipulating the bills of innocent electricity consumers, and as a matter of urgency make pre-paid meters available to them. All electricity cables and poles affected by rainstorm should be immediately restored at no cost to the consumers. BEDC officials should not depend on outdated styles of meter readings because from available information, dilapidated, abandoned and uncompleted houses were estimated and added to the bills of these communities.”
The statement was signed by Chairman of BBOL, Prof. Francis Igbasan and other members of the group, Barristers Dayo Akindejoye, Bayo Akin-Akinsola, Mr. Ayodele Adeolu and Olumide Akinrinlola.
In his speech at the forum, Chairman of the Planning Committee of the group, Solomon Bitire, lamented that the affected councils were disconnected from the national grid without any warning or information, putting 400, 000 electricity consumers into total darkness for about three years now.
Previous efforts by traditional rulers and opinion leaders to interface with officials of BEDC for thorough reconciliation of the disputed bills of the local government areas affected towards ensuring restoration of electricity failed.
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