Delta State Government has deplored the continued rip off of communities through estimated billings by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company, (BEDC).
Speaking to journalists in Asaba at the weekend, the Commissioner for Energy, Engr. Jonathan Ukodhiko, said most rural communities were groaning under huge electricity bills as a result of estimated billings.
He said that many of them were in darkness because they were unable to pay the high bills unilaterally allocated to them by BEDC.
According to him, “you can’t continue to give people estimated billing, provide bulk metering system for the communities so that they can pay for what they consume.
“I found out that most of the rural areas are a big mess, even places with grids have no light. Why is there no light? BEDC said It is because most of the people are not paying.
“What do you mean by these people are not paying? You cannot continue giving people estimated bills and expect them to pay.
“So, we are discussing with BEDC to meter these communities. What we are looking to do now, we trying to see how we can provide a bulk metering system for these communities that have the National grids. So that Henceforth, they will be able to pay for what they consume.
“Because for a fact, BEDC does not even have the power to distribute. As we know the whole country is generating about 2500 megawatts, which is been shared to the whole of the country, even at that BEDC is not even paying or buying from the GENCOs maybe because the people are not paying.
“What they do, is that the little that they get, they are giving it to the people that can pay in industrial areas, towns and oil states that they know can pay.
“So, what we are doing is to provide a bulk metering system for these people, we encourage BEDC to buy more Power from GENCOs, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to transmit to our people.”
The Energy Commissioner said plans were underway to provide power to communities not currently connected to the National grid.
“Also, those places that are not connected to the National grid, right now there are so many programs that are being championed by multinational organisations and also with CBN on how we can provide power to those communities that are off the grid, either through the solar system or what is called ‘home solar system’ in other to provide power for the rural communities.
“There are some Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has already approved through CBN collaboration and very soon most of our rural communities will be connected and they will also enjoy the dividends of democracy,” Ukodhiko stated.