The Adamawa State House of Assembly has set up a committee to look into the acute shortage in power supply that has hit the state capital, Yola.
The state lawmakers resolved that the devastating drop in power supply had become an issue of ‘important public matter’.
At Monday’s session, a motion to that effect was moved by Wafari Theman, a member representing Hong state constituency.
Mr. Theman described the energy situation as “debilitating” and in his prayer, urged the intervention of his colleagues and the speaker of the house.
After extensive deliberation on the matter, the speaker, Ahmed Umaru Fintiri, directed a five-man committee, headed by Mr. Theman, to be set up.
Residents of the Yola, have been experiencing excruciating discomfort since the rather severe drop in power supply from the national grid. Once, the national grid supplied about 30 megawatts to the capital, but in the past few weeks, only about 33% of that supply has been available for consumption.
In Yola, the weather at this time of the year is characterized by intense hot-dry-air and residents who have had to bear prolonged periods of power shortage at a time they need it the most have been groaning profusely.
Many of the residents who spoke on the epileptic power supply in the North-east state, accused officials of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, of sharp practices and inequitable treatment of consumers.
They alleged that the PHCN officials charge exorbitant fees for consumers to migrate to “hotlines”.
According to Mrs. Oaya, a resident of Masakare, Yola, PHCN gives preferential treatment to those on the hotline.
“PHCN ensure consumers on those lines have steady electricity supply. Thus, abandoning the practice of “load shedding, which ensures equitable distribution of electricity to all segment of the society,” Mrs Oaya said.
Premium Times investigations revealed that it cost about N70,000 to N80,000 to migrate from the normal PHCN distribution lines to the PHCN “hotlines’.
A Premium Times reporter also observed that in major settlement such as Masakare, Karewa, Nyibango, Commissioners quarters, and some sprawling new settlement, many household sign-up to the buzz to escape the excessively hot weather in Yola.
Regrettably, a large number of residents cannot afford the “hotline” treatment. They have described the fad as unjust and negating the load shedding principle which enables equal distribution to all areas.
However, one of the PHCN technical staff, who simply identified his name as Joseph, blamed the development on the shortfall in electricity supply to the state from 30 MW to around 11MW, as being partly responsible for the erratic electricity supply.
He said the decision by the PHCN to allocate hotlines to selected higher revenue generating environs had become“necessary because of the need for the PHCN to meet its revenue targets”.
But in the bid to meet the revenue targets, the Power Holding Company of Nigeria is causing great discomfort to the teeming number of residents who cannot afford the hotlines. They wallow painfully in the heat.
The Adamawa lawmakers are uncomfortable with the poor power supply situation, saying it poses adverse socio-economic consequence and health challenges; including the possible outbreak of cerebro-spinal meningitis if no proactive step is taken.
In another vain, the Adamawa state government has resorted to augmenting electricity supplied to the state by asking Cameroon to supply the national grid with 30 Mega watts of electricity. This understanding between the state government and Cameroon, Premium Times findings reveal, has reached advanced stage.