The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) has disconnected power supply to the Imo State Government House over an alleged debt of N200 million.
Electricity at the Imo State secretariat has also been disconnected due to debt.
Apparently angered by the disconnection, the state government marked the EEDC office in Owerri, the Imo State capital, for demolition.
A visit by PREMIUM TIMES to the Owerri District Headquarters of the EEDC along Royce road, Owerri, on Tuesday revealed that the office was marked for demolition last Friday.
The inscription on the wall of the building is: “To be demolished. Remove within 7 days, by IMSG”.
The spokesman of the EEDC, Emeka Ezeh, confirmed the electricity disconnection to our correspondent. He said it was not the intention of the company to discuss the matter in the media, as efforts were still being made to get the state government to pay.
He said EEDC is aware that its office in Owerri has been marked by the state government for demolition.
“We suffer all manner of bashing from the public once our services falter. Now, how can we optimally render qualitative service when key stakeholders who use our services refuse to pay? The state also takes care of the bills of the Imo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (ISOPADEC) communities in Imo State and for a long time now those communities in Oguta and Ohaji Egbema have also been disconnected because their bills have not been settled.
“And these bills are heavy and no company can continue to operate under such huge deficit. We are still open to any discussion that can ameliorate the situation for all concerned.”
A resident of Ejemekwuru community in Oguta, Benson Obiefule, told PREMIUM TIMES that the community has not experienced power supply in the last five years due to indebtedness to EEDC and the inability of ISOPADEC to pay their bills as agreed.
In his reaction, Mark Uchendu, the Commissioner for Public Utilities, said he is aware of the problem with the EEDC; but maintained that the core problem is one of reconciliation.
“The figures are exaggerated. I am sorting out the documents and what we need to do is to sit down with EEDC and reconcile the actual indebtedness of the government.
“I am aware that some time last year, the governor paid EEDC about N200 million for power supply. So, all we need to do now is reconcile and agree on whether we need to balance the EEDC any outstanding or not.”
On the disconnection of government facilities and offices, Mr Uchendu said power supply in government house is no longer a major concern, He said the blackout in the state secretariat was, however, a major concern to the state.
“The disconnection of the state secretariat is a major issue for us. We need to also reconcile that because the bill of over N45 million EEDC brought for the secretariat appears rather inflated to us because pre-paid meters are used there,”, the commissioner said.
Mr Uchendu regretted that the ISOPADEC communities in Oguta and Ohaji Egbema were also in darkness due to indebtedness to EEDC.
He, however, said it was the responsibility of ISOPADEC to defray the debt from their 13 per cent derivation.
“It is not the direct responsibility of government to pay the electricity bills of Oguta and OhajiEgbema. The commission does that,” he added.