The power outage in Bayelsa and parts of Rivers was the handiwork of youth who shut down a transmission station at Ahoada in Rivers state.
John Onyi, Manager, Corporate Communications at Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC) who confirmed the development, said the utility company was incapacitated by the restive youth “who threw the public into darkness.”
Residents in Bayelsa and adjoining parts of Rivers served by the shut transmission station located in Ahoada community in Rivers have remained without power supply since January 23.
Mr. Onyi said efforts of the utility firm to dialogue with the youth who allegedly attacked the station to protest irregular power supply were unsuccessful.
He urged the Bayelsa government to wade into the issue.
“Therefore, the management of Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, PHEDC, is calling on the security agencies and indeed the government of Bayelsa State to wade into the matter.
“The forceful closure of Transmission Station located inside Ahoada by a group of Ahoada Youth has led to complete loss of power supply to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital,” he said.
“The forced outage has not only affected the state capital but the adjoining communities in the state and some parts of Rivers state namely Isiokpo, Emuoha, Elele, among others.
“The stick wielding youth came out en masse early Tuesday morning, chanting war songs, blocked and barricaded the Transmission Station with fetish items and in the process forced the operators on duty to switch off the entire station.”
“This action of the youth led to the loss on 132kv lines supplying power to Yenagoa and ever since then, all effort made by the management of PHEDC, to get the matter resolved has been met with further threats from the youths,” Mr. Onyi said.
The PHEDC official lamented that protests in the Niger Delta region over load allocation from the National Grid which leads to realistic systemic load shedding by the DISCO is becoming too many.
He noted that residents have always demanded for 24 hour power supply without corresponding payments and efforts made by the company to explain the electricity value chain appear not to be understood.
“Surprisingly, debt profile as at December 2017 in Ahoada stood at over N7.6 billion, yet the youth has not deemed it necessary to tell their people that the outstanding debt should be settled.
“Electricity has been misconstrued in some quarters to be free and not to be paid for, whereas it is not so,” Mr. Onyi said.