By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The management of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC) and National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC) on Tuesday met with other stakeholders in the power value-chain over the proposed increase in electricity tariff.
The public consultation meeting with Electricity Consumers and Civil society Organizations in Benin City, was predicated on the implementation of the new tariff effective April, 2020.
In a remark, the Chief State Head, BEDC, Mr Ebel Enechazian, highlighted the challenges that are hindering the operation of the company and steps that have been taken to address them.
He lamented the 36 percent of energy loss to theft, clarifying that BEDC is not against constructive criticisms, but, such complaints or criticisms regarding service delivery should be within the ambits of the law.
Enechazian stated that BEDC was not frustrating Edo State government moves in procuring Osiomo power plant.
He insisted however that due process must be followed by parties to the contract agreement not to create pointless delay that could undermine public safety.
“We are not frustrating Ossiomo power project and ifine have that in mind, we (BEDC) would have invited other private firms to to bid and invest in the company”, he said.
The Deputy General Manager Customers Service Standard, NERC, Mr Shittu Shaibu, assured that the views and recommendation from the forum will be collated and analyzed before a decision would be taken on the issue.
He explained that the operational licence had been renewed for one year before further action will be taken on the matter.
“We have them both in writing, video and audio. We will get the responses on service delivery to our headquarters and bade on that, the Commission will not decide on what to do”, he said.
He identified communication gap between electricity consumers and the utility company as the most common issues that were raised at the meeting.
“I think it is a question of Communication. They should talk more on the side of customers and the utility company.
“If you do not report a complaint, it cannot be treated, and if you do not escalate it, it cannot be treated.
Members of Edo Civil Society Organizations led by its Coordinator-General, Leftist Omobude Agho, rejected upward review of tariff and blamed the electricity regulators — Bureau of Public Enterprise and NERC for been economical with the truth about the status of operational licence of BEDC.